Actually, most of the time it is. But it’s easy to forget.
There’s nothing quite like the reality (or threat) of dying to help clear up any misunderstanding on this point. I saw that a lot. In almost six years of working with hospice I never once saw a person at the end of their life still wishing they could meet a celebrity. Or win the lottery. Or grab fifteen minutes of fame.
You know what they did long for? (Besides wishing they didn’t have to die of course.) To see their child or friend one last time. To make sure their spouse or partner knew…really knew…how much they loved them. To still be a part of the circle. To be in their own home, surrounded by their own things, and cared for by people they knew they could trust.
It hit me every time, how all the events that were happening in the big wide world…things that just a little while ago had seemed so huge, overwhelming, and important to them…telescoped down to the tiny, the few, and the essential. It was a revolutionary insight. I’d somehow completely missed this lesson before; that the small things ARE the big things.
Something reminded me of it again this morning. A couple of YouTube videos have been hanging around my inbox for quite a while now. They’re both on the long side, ten minutes or so, and…really…who has time for that shit? I can’t get to all the real stuff that needs doing. The only reason I didn’t delete them outright was because they were from people who might ask if I’d watched them. And I suck at lying.
I’m pretty good at procrastination though.
But this morning the guilt set in so I watched them both. And, lo and behold, what used to happen in hospice happened again. I had the weirdest sensation of the world turning inside out (where big things get small and small things grow huge) and then I suddenly remembered what’s really important. Yes, the broader world is something of a mess right now, but there are always plenty of little things going on in it that are perfect and beautiful and right. And if I just remember that, then all the chaos in the universe can’t stop me from being grateful for my life, or for the many small but essential miracles that fill it.
So…if you ever have some extra time:
The first video is the story of the spontaneous boat lift that happened on 9/11, when a random flotilla of boats materialized out of nowhere to evacuate the hundreds of thousands of people trapped in lower Manhattan that morning. (If you only have time for one video, make it this one. It helps heal something that’s still, after a decade, surprisingly raw.)
The other video is a David Letterman segment about a young woman and her horse who got between a charging grizzly bear and the boy it was about to kill, and actually charged the bear. Twice. They saved the child’s life. It’ll blow you away.
Editor’s note: The original embedded video was taken private so I’m supplying a link to the interview which has been posted on Youtube instead.
copyright Dia Osborn 2011
Thank you for posting these videos, and yes, the small picture IS the big picture. It’s just that the small pictures don’t seem to get much airplay, and some appear so mundane that we fail to see just how miraculous they are. Thanks for the reminder.