Saturday, March 28, 2009

little things

I had never heard the expression, " The devil is in the details" until I watched the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. I love this movie. Anyone who knows me, knows this is an anomaly. I am not an action movie kinda girl.

Love it.

This expression is a favorite of Donald Sutherland's character, John Bridger. The viewer is lead to make the conclusion that this was one of John Bridger's personal memes... wisdom he has imparted to those closest to him. When the viewer hears Bridger's daughter utter it later in the movie, you know her goose is cooked. The insight is that failure is contingent on the details.

Details are what sets things apart. I love details, almost to the point of being fixated. Any domestic unbliss I have experienced has generally caused by my family's lack of attention to details, hence, the devil is in the details. They manage to hobble through doing the dishes, folding the clothes, fill-in
-the-blank, but only in the widest sense of accomplishing the task. Details are so ingrained in my makeup that I can't begin to understand neglecting them. Discord ensues. (On a related note, this is something I am working on, in the most Serenity Now fashion.)

As someone who lives for minutia, when I consider that there are days that I be-bop through life in a cloud, I am disconcerted. Well, let me qualify that. I know there's stuff I miss all the time. I only have so many brain cells to devote to any one element, and some days it isn't near enough. It's not the details that I am concerned about missing; it's noticing the little things.

When we step back from the daily grind that is our lives, we see that all the sparkling gems in life are the little things. If our lives are balanced, little things are something we give and receive. It's via the little things that we are able to express and appreciate our love and care for each other. Sometimes we do little things for the important mice in our lives and sometimes they are for total strangers. The funny thing about doing little things is that it feels good on both ends.

The little things are just that... little. They are things like having (Lipton) onion dip when your sister visits, never running out of vodka or listening to your loved one's stories for the 67th time and acting like it's the first time. They aren't hard things, but they are the things that are important to the other person. It tells them you care.

The tricky part is appreciating these things. If a stranger holds a door for you, you are thankful. Are you thankful when the door holder is your husband? Maybe not as much. We have certain expectations from those closest to us. It's part of the give-and-take that makes up our relationships. That shouldn't preclude us from noticing these things.

One of nicest things Countrymouse does for me is to bring me my morning coffee. We have a tacit understanding. I set up the coffee to grind and brew the night before (because I have an awesome coffee maker that will do that) and he brings a cup upstairs for each of us in the morning. I don't know if I have ever told him how much I appreciate this. Sure, I could get my own coffee easy enough, but it's the fact that I don't have to that makes it that much better. This simple act is a little thing, for sure. What makes it a little thing and not just something that gets done is that Countrymouse knows coffee is the nectar of the gods for me and he indulges me by expediting my lovefest every morning. He does it because it's special to me. Very likely, this would not be special to you. That's okay... that's the beauty of little things.

When we let all the craziness life can bring get in our way, we forget to notice the little things or at least appreciate them. This is what I find disheartening. I don't want to be *that person* but sometimes I am. I have a friend that lives her life with an "Attitude of Gratitude". I think the central sagacity wrapped up in this maxim covers every aspect of life. Viewing things with a filter of gratitude is liberating. It frees us from all the fiery darts society tries to hurl at us and the ones we hurl at ourselves. For most of us, this is easier said than done. It can be done, however. The best place to start is with a thank you.

(The video below doesn't have anything to do with the good little things I am talking about, but I can't pass up the opportunity to share it because it is such a great song. This is from the movie, Wanted, which, ironically, is another action movie I loved. Hmmm... maybe it's time to reassess the types of movies I really do like...)

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