Friday, November 13, 2009

The Little Things That Serve You

There is a poem by Pat Schneider, The Patience of Ordinary Things, that has become part of my daily prayer. It is a reflection on the many little things that serve us each day—things we take for granted because they are so ordinary. The poem begins, “It is a kind of love is it not? How the cup holds the tea,… and I think: Yes, it is! Poetry, like scripture, can be both read and prayed. This happens to be a poem that I pray. So now, as I behold the cup loving me and serving me by holding my tea or coffee each morning, I start thinking: What else am I missing? What are the little things that serve me each day?

I have begun to practice noticing the little things that serve me and yes…
“It is a kind of love...

  • how the candle holds the wick and the wick holds the flame
  • how the tree holds the branches and the branch holds the leaf
  • how the earth receives the roots and the sky holds the stars
  • how the book holds the stories and the pages hold the words
  • how the plate holds the food and the table holds the plate
  • how the walls enthrone the pictures and the pictures, the images
  • how the face holds the freckles and the smiles and frowns
  • how the computer keys lovingly support the fingers
  • how the shoe supports the foot and the finger holds the ring
  • how the earth's turning, offer us hours of light and darkness.

I could go on forever but my heart is calling me to fill the kettle with water, turn on the heat so that the molecules can began the fast dance of love to make the water hot so that the loving cup can hold the tea as I sit before the blank page of my morning work and practice patience. But before I began I sing praises to all the little things that bless me unaware each day. A quote from Coleridge winds its way through my mind: "A stream of love crept through my heart and I blessed them unaware."

Well, it was something like that. Today I would like to serve others in little ways by blessing them in secret.


  1. Well, not a secret, but I have to say this made me go look for the poem. And I found this website: that I had not known existed and is lovely. So thank you for that!

    And second, thank you for this post. It was welcome in many ways today, and I appreciate it.

  2. Thanks for sharing your prayer, Sr. Macrina. What a beautiful practice! This reminds me of the "Collecting Light" poem that you read at the "sevensacredpauses" retreat in San Damiano. I did a short reflection on one of the trees there, and I shared this on Flickr after the suggestion you made on "collecting light". The link is in my profile/ID. The previous day's post was the poem you did read...Thanks for all the inspiration! Hope you are feeling better, that your voice has returned...

  3. That is wonderful!
    I immediately thought, "how the computer screen holds the blog"! There really is no end to things to appreciate!

  4. Thanks to all of you for responding and Em I apologize for being a bit lazy and not putting the link to the poem. I'm slowly learning these things and it takes time. But I always figure that for anyone who is interested in pursing the sources there is always google or other search engines. Good Night to all of you and do enjoy the little things that serve you

  5. Your blog is my new favorite 'ordinary' thing...only I receive your words as definitely love and not-so-ordinary. Your writing blesses me!

  6. As far as blessing secretly, today when I had to work as a vendor at a craft bazaar, I felt led to pray for the people who were passing by and stopping in. they had no idea they were being prayed for, and I have no idea what their needs are, but our Heavenly Father knows and cares.

  7. A friend and I (we're the ones from the Wine Country!) joined you at San Damiano, learning to pause mindfully throughout the day. Your post about giving thanks for the small things leads me to indeed notice the little things, and so be more fully present. This is a lovely practice, Macrina, and I'm grateful that you have shared it with us!