A lot of people hate the feeling of feeling ‘small.’ They associate it with insults, or condemnation, or oversight. I love it. I love feeling small.
Feeling small is why – or how (or maybe both) – I fell in love with South Georgia.
When I moved down south the first time, for work, it was about this time of year. No gnats, but still so warm. Too hot for jeans, but no one is tan enough or toned enough this early in the season to wear anything else, so you spend most days just walking around sweating and telling yourself you would rather be hot than cold. Your body temperature is usually escalated, given the heat, so you actually believe what you tell yourself.
But, in all seriousness, few people can refute the wonderful feeling of the warm sun on your face…especially when you’re surrounded by nothing. I remember the first time I stepped outside to no clouds, no noise, and just sunshine and open fields. It was the most freeing feeling to hear nothing and to see nothing but land in every direction. At the time, I had no idea why I was so consumed by the feeling of the greatness of my surroundings – though it was still emotional for me – but I conceded to allow myself to absorb and appreciate everything about what was around me.
When I did that, I saw a transformation in myself. Knowing my smallness, my true irrelevancy on this Earth, I actually found more purpose. It distracted me from anger, from bitterness, from grudges, from materialism and redirected my focus to my faith and to simplicity. Even in knowing my shortcomings, I felt pure. It was a peace I had never known before, but one I knew I wanted to keep forever. It was – and still is – astounding to me that it was so simple to attain, too. The epitome of ‘Let go and Let God.’
When I returned to South Georgia in the Fall of 2015, I gravitated toward the notion of smallness. I had worked hard to get to a position to leave the city and my positivity was radiating. Through my writing, I was able to share the profoundness of ‘the simple life’ and it brought joy to me and to others. I know many in my life saw a notable change in me. But earthly pain and suffering distracted me and ultimately consumed me. The rat race and pressures I placed on myself with work took precedent. I stopped writing for myself and my purpose and wrote for production and a machine. That isn’t to say my work writing serves no purpose, I feel sure that it does, but what good is a work purpose with no personal purpose? It’s like placing a pot on the stove to boil – whether the burner is large or it is small, it still needs the same amount of heat to make the water boil…and I was not distributing the heat evenly.
There were ‘triggers’ for me…things that happen that remind me of my perspective back in 2014 and 2015 that would immediately take me back. I would hear a song on the radio and I could remember when I heard that ‘before,’ where I was, the sunset, the fields, my purpose. But I would put it off until ‘tomorrow,’ saying I didn’t have time. A year went by before I really reflected and realized how few times I allowed myself to become consumed by what brought me here in the first place. Though it was comforting to know I could still be shaken and moved by greatness, what a disservice I was doing to myself by not capitalizing on everything around me.
We are so small and so unimportant on this massive planet. In our day-to-day activities, we are so irrelevant. Half the time, we don’t even know why we are doing what we are doing – we just ‘do.’ And then we praise ourselves for it. People balk at the saying, ‘Stop and smell the roses,’ but the true power in doing that goes beyond the 6 syllable cliché. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and feel small actually shifts us toward something much bigger, a place where we are better suited to grow.
Real peace comes in the blessing of knowing the value of being small and to feel moved by the greatness of nothing. Or at least nothing that is Earthly.