I tie my shoes a certain way. Which seems seems to bother a lot of people.
Seriously? You think God cares how you tie your shoes?
Yup. I do.
And no, it’s not because my shoes are so extremely important. But it is an action. And every action counts. Every action has an impact. And every action should have conscious thought motivating it and elevating it.
First I put on the right shoe. Then the left. Then tie the left. Then the right. A jingle just waiting to be created. Yes, I know you are laughing. It’s ok. I like that I think about how I tie my shoes. I like that even my shoe-tying is spiritual.
According to the mystical tradition in Judaism, the “right” represents lovingkindness and the “left” that of borders and boundaries. The balance is the goal. Both are to be used. But the love and kindness should start and finish every process. Always begin and end with the positive.
We are so quick to prioritize and assume we know what is important and what counts. But do we really know? What if the small thing is really pretty big in the scheme of it all? What if by investing our energy in one area we end up ignoring something else that was truly important?
I was speaking to an elderly couple the other day. They have been married for over sixty years and seemingly as in love as the day they met. I wanted to know their secret. So I asked each one of them, separately, their favorite thing about the other. What did the other one do that proved or showed his or her love in the most meaningful and powerful way?
Ready for this? For him it was the eggs she made him for breakfast. For her, it was the fact that he never went to sleep without wishing her sweet dreams. Huh? Five children. Dozens of grandchildren. They survived a World War together, cancer and the loss of their home in a fire. And throughout it all it was the eggs and ‘sweet dreams’ ritual?
He explained that his wife wasn’t a big fan of eggs. But he loved them. And from the beginning of their marriage she made sure to scramble a few up whenever she could. It took a whopping five minutes but to him it embodied her love. It constantly and consistently exemplified that she would do something for him just because he liked it. Just because she loved him.
For her, hearing “sweet dreams” every single night as she drifted off to sleep was the beautiful reminder that she was the last thought on his mind at the end of the day. It was a wish, a blessing, which he never forgot to say. He never got too tired or just fell asleep. He made sure she knew, constantly, that he was thinking of her.
In certain ways it is easy to do the big things. We can throw a big birthday party or cook a gourmet anniversary meal. But it is what we do each day, every minute of the day, which really defines who we are. It is making sure that when it comes to expressing our love it permeates everything, not just certain things.
And this is why I tie my shoes the way I do. I never want to forget that there is purpose and potential in everything. We just need to tap into it. Especially since we ultimately don’t know which thought, which word, which seemingly small thing might just be the real big thing the world needs.