Occupied with small things

At the UDTS morning prayer yesterday we read one of the shortest of Psalms, number 131.*

“O LORD, my heart is not lifted high up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and marvelous for me.”

A lovely thought, not being occupied with great and marvelous things.  I decided to make it my Lenten discipline to occupy myself with some small things instead.

I tightened all the hex nuts on my Ikea Poang chair and footrest. Amazing how it feels more sturdy. Even more amazing: I was able to find the correct hex wrench in our tool box!DSCF0260

I started a list of bird species that I’ve seen in my backyard since the sheltering began. The wintering Dark-eyed Junco will fly north from here very soon to summer in Canada. The Song Sparrow is an early spring migrant.DSCF0265

In the evenings, I’ve been knitting cotton washcloths as a way to keep my hands busy. Hoping to give these away to neighbors in the weeks ahead.DSCF0266

One more small and very joyful thing: our new granddaughter, Dixon Rhys Huizenga, was born whole and healthy on March 25


Eight-year old Sadie holding her baby sister, one-day old Dixon

These small things occupy me while I’m sheltering in Chicago. I sit at my desk in a not-very-supportive chair, working from home. I bought a new webcam so now I’m fiddling with the lighting for video-conferencing. I spend way too much time staring at screens. My mind finds it difficult to concentrate on reading. I really miss hanging out with my seminary colleagues.

Always remembering that, unlike many others around the world during this pandemic, I have a home to shelter in, meaningful work to do, ways to connect digitally, and the means to obtain food.

And I try to follow the example of the psalmist:

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me

O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time on and forevermore.”


* In my first edition of this post, I said that Psalm 131 was the shortest of Psalms. I have been corrected by my friend and UDTS graduate Carol Bayma. Carol points out that Psalm 117 is the shortest, which she knows because of a 5th-grade Sunday School assignment to read a chapter of the Bible each week. When pressed for time, Carol would always return to Psalm 117 so she could honestly say she had read a chapter. I don’t know how Carol got away with reading the same chapter so often. Maybe she was as persuasive and engaging at 10 years old as in her adult life!