Learning small things matter/is really no small thing!

There is a local restaurant, Eddie Mae's, a meat-and-three sort of place, about ten miles norrh of where I live.  My dad ate there this morning with John Gay, a longtime, treasured friend of our family. When they got back home, I walked out to John's truck to say hello. He and Dad were still sitting in the truck presumably, i thought, telling stories. As I got closer, i could see that they were sayng a prayer, heads down and eyes closed. I should have silently joined in but, instead, just watched until they finished. 

And this is what caught my attention: Dad was praying with a toothpick in his mouth. While John spoke their prayer, Dad was kind of moving the toothpick with his tongue from one side of his mouth to the other, flipping and playing with it as if he was still sitting among the locals at Eddie Mae's, as if it's perfectly OK to talk to God with a toothpick in your mouth. 

The sight, which i confess was rather refreshing, seemed a bit incongruous  ...  like singing hymns and drinking beer, or taking communion in a bikini, or kneeling to propose marriage in the automotive section of Walmart.

Praying with a toothpick.

And then, just a few minutes after that, I started eading a new book, one recommended by my good friend Bart, whose recommendations are always admirable, Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison Warren. Three chapters in, I can tell it is going to be an excellent and profitable use of my time, not so much because it will introduce me to some entirely new idea but because it wil remind me an idea i already know quite well, to wit:: the seemingly insignificant and unimportant moments of our ordinary days -- making the bed, brushing teeth. losing car keys -- are not insignificant or unimportant moents in our ordinary days. Songwriter Andy Gullahorn expressed it well in a song i heard him sing last week, "learning small things matter/ is really no small thing."

My days of late, in thiis season of transition, have been gloriously uneventful. I am a son of the high King of heaven and earth, born to do great and glorious things (right?) and, on some days, I do little more than drag tree limbs into piles so they can be burned in a few months. I am reminded this morning that, even in the mundane, repetitive tasks of daily life, there is purpose and value. Even in those, heaven and earth intersect, the simple and the sacred, toothpicks and prayer. 

Allen Levi