Written by Sharon Drees, CCL volunteer.
The best things in life are almost never the big things we plan for—big changes, big purchases, the gaining of great power or prestige. In my experience, the best things in life are in the little moments of love and the small details that surround them that no one else pays any attention to, like the oversized beach towel or the cute shoes I put on at the last minute. Two recent experiences have led me to this conclusion and I wanted to share.
Little Moments of Love
We had many grand and beautiful experiences on our family vacation: we saw dolphins up close, jumping in an out of the water right by our boat; we stood on the natural sand dunes at the easternmost point of the U.S. and looked out over the coastline into the deep blue where the Atlantic touched the sky. Yet, despite all these things, my favorite moment of the week was getting caught in a storm on the beach with all the kids, having to pack up everything with the rain pouring and the wind whipping at us, freezing except for the warm puddles we walked through as we made our way back to the beach house. The best moment of all—sitting with my two littlest children on my lap, all three of us covered in an oversized beach towel, giggling together near my heart under the blanket, all dirty, sandy and wet while we waited for the oldest three kids to get their showers. It was a moment that didn’t cost a penny, that was totally unplanned, and that was part of what, had I been in a bad mood or focused on less important things, I could have considered a ruined day.
Especially the shoes…
I was walking through a store to pick up some items for the kids for the beginning of school. I was dressed up because I was on my way to meet a friend for a birthday dinner at a restaurant. Before I left the house, I ran inside to change my shoes to my favorite ones (you know…the ones with the rose-gold flowers and tan wedges). It was a little detail that really wouldn’t have mattered much—the shoes I had on previously were fine, they just weren’t my favorite. As I was walking out of an isle paying very little attention to the people around me, I was somewhat startled by a girl, about 10-12 years old. She must have been looking at me and as soon as I made eye contact with her, she said, “I really like your outfit, especially the shoes.” Her comment was so sweet and surprising. I stopped in my tracks, and with a big smile I said “thank you”, with a laugh and my heart overflowing. As I walked into the next isle, I almost began to cry. We were right in the midst of four days of praying for “all the girls in the United States who are coming of age, that despite all the challenges to living out a vibrant, happy, faith-filled life, they will hear the voice of God deep in their souls and live their lives in ways that give him great honor and glory…” It was as if God was saying to me, “I hear you; she needs you; they look up to you; they are paying attention; you have a voice; you are beautiful; I am happy; the future is bright.” In her eyes, I saw the hearts and lives of countless young girls—including my own daughters—looking for someone to admire and model their lives after with an incredibly touching innocence and eagerness. Last year, I was asked to do the CCL video for mothers and daughters intended to help educate young maturing women what healthy fertility looks like. This moment reminded me of that experience and being a role model.
We, Catholics, live in a time when all odds are stacked against us, especially in trying to pass on beautiful church teachings regarding sexuality. We have so many reasons to lose hope, to believe we can’t live out our dreams, and that the challenges are too great. But so many hearts can be changed if we simply live our faith with passion, courage and joy, enjoying the little moments. So go on, enjoy life, take a second to put on your cute shoes, to smile, and to shine. Who knows who’s watching, and by seeing your joy, your beauty, your passion, and your faith, will be influenced? Let us focus on changing the world through small acts of beauty and kindness, and in simply and fully living out what we love and believe in