I spent last Friday afternoon in a women’s prison. I was there visiting someone I’ve started to think of as a friend. She’s the mom of a little boy I love.
Why she’s there probably isn’t important. Why are any of us where we are? Maybe we said “Yes” one too many times or our “No” came too late to count.
Anyway, she’s in an Ohio prison now and I have the privilege of taking her son to visit her.
We sit on wooden chairs at a table that seems meant for a toddler. We can eat food from the vending machines, but only if we take it out of the wrapper and put it on a solid white paper plate. Before my friend enters the visitation room she has to completely undress to prove she’s not hiding anything. She goes through the same humiliating scene before she goes back to her bunk.
My friend is very honest about why she’s there. She knows she messed up. She regrets it every day.
“What do you miss?” I asked her as we sat across from each other.
Her face immediately lit up and without even a pause she had her answer. “Bubble baths!”
Then she thought for a moment and added, “And steak. I’d love a steak on the grill with a baked potato on the side.”
It’s the little things.
I walked away from the prison with that gem of wisdom in my pocket… it’s the little things.
My day is made up of one thousand little things that make a big difference in my life. So is yours. They are the things God puts in our path to give us joy, but we have to be willing to brush away the chaos and the self-pity and the to-do lists so we can see them.
The 70 pound dog that insists on sitting on my lap. The kid with pizza on his face because he just got to eat his favorite meal. The tree outside my window that provides the birds with the perfect branch for us to look at each other.
I encourage you to find the little things today. They are the things that refresh us and renew us and give us the strength to go on being brave and kind. They matter and they are waiting to be discovered.