Little things mean a lot is the title of an old song from the fifties by Kitty Kalen. (I will put a link to the song on YouTube at the end.)
However, to many people little things mean a lot in a negative sense.
Little things mean…
Inconvenience. My multifunction printer had a paper jam. It was only the second time in many years, so I was not so familiar with fixing it. However, I did try. Unsuccessfully. The paper I pulled out had a ‘bite’ missing.
But the ‘missing’ small piece was out of sight. I turned it off for a few days. But no, it did not magically clear itself. A week or so later, I faced the fact… I would either have no multifunction centre, or was looking at a rather large bill for someone to come in and take the machine to bits.
After some more thinking time, I took the paper tray out, tipped the multifunction centre up, and using a torch searched for clues. As you will see from the image, I found it.
(Not without difficulty.)
Little things also mean…
Pain, and a sleepless night. In the fairytale the Princess and the Pea, the princess has an uncomfortable night because of a pea hidden under twenty mattresses. According to study.com, this tale is about an old queen that learns not to judge others by their appearance.
In ‘real life’ pain is not a little thing. I know many people for whom pain is an unrelenting companion. It isolates, it separates, it divides.
Since publishing ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube I have heard from people suffering from conditions that keep them tethered, but not to an oxygen tube. Their health conditions have them limited.
No little thing
The isolation of chronic illness is something many people do not understand, or dare I say it? Do not want to understand.
If someone dealing with chronic pain tells others, they are quickly seen as a ‘pain’ to be around. (I recently had a long phone call with someone in a nursing home who has serious physical conditions as well as near blindness, and is NOT understood. Care is missing in the ‘care home.)
For these, and other sufferers, if they try not to complain most of the time, sadly they can be seen as having nothing wrong with them. This is the hardest of all. To be misunderstood because you do not want to be considered a ‘complainer.’
But the person I talked with did complain and is labelled, therefore treated as such.
Words are weapons or a balm.
Someone seems cheerful, then says he or she is in terrible pain, the response can be, “You don’t know what real pain is.” That is one way to attack and bring down a sufferer and perhaps result in the person isolating himself or herself.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Is one way to show support, even if there is nothing that can be done. The listener in this instance shows belief that the pain is real, shows interest and wish to help.
In my phone call, the person I was talking to suffered so many serious conditions, at the end, I said, “I don’t know what to say,” then repeated back some of what I heard. The person sounded brighter. Her complaint had been heard. Someone believed in her suffering.
Perhaps the worst response is to not believe the person who is suffering, and telling others it is ‘put on.’
My husband lived with excruciating back pain. He was on two types of morphine as well as other medication. But when the opportunity arose he travelled from Australia to America for a church festival.
Someone said to him, “If you are in that much pain, how can you sit so long in an aircraft?”
We didn’t dignify that with an answer, but I will say this much. My husband, who was also dying of lung disease, had his eye on the goal. That is how he could sit so long in an aircraft.
Judge not that you be not judged
This is an often quoted phrase from Matt: 7: 1 but it is not all the quote. The rest is, ‘For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.’ (Matthew 7: 2)
People with chronic illness may have a tendency to avoid other people. It is easier than trying to explain why something is difficult, or impossible, for them to do. It is easier than saying that they have to cancel arrangements (again) because of illness.
All it takes is some thought, and the gift or our time,
The link I mentioned at the beginning…