October 24 – Small things add up

October 24. “Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.” (William Arhtur Ward)

Believing without seeing, that is the essence of having faith. I grew up as a Catholic, and the lesson of the Apostle Thomas was repeated yearly, along with the conclusion of “blessed are those who have not seen and believe.” Faith is then the belief in something that I cannot see, but that I believe to be real. But this quote is slightly different. In this quote, it’s about believing in something bigger.

We all know from school, that brooks lead to streams, streams to rivers, rivers to lakes, and so on until all water eventually flows to the ocean. We know this bit of earth science, in most cases, because someone told us. It might be interesting to pick a brook and follow it through the entire cycle until the ocean is reached, but few of us would have the time or wherewithal to make that kind of trip.

In this quote, the faith that I would have is not only knowing that oceans exist, but that small things lead to big things. This is a powerful suggestion in any life. The small decisions I make, the small actions I take all add up to something larger. That something larger may be for me personally, or for someone else. But it inevitably adds up.

We see this played out in many ways. A few months back there was a craze involving dumping ice water on people’s heads to raise money for a charity. Each individual donation was relatively small, but in a very short time, because tens of thousands of people were dumping water and donating, the money added up. That charity reported a dramatic uptick in donations. Each bucket of ice water, and associated donation was small, but they lead to something much larger.

Small things do lead to big things in life. Whether it is the quiet trickle of a brook leading to an immense ocean, or the small actions of individuals leading to immense results, small things do add up.

Today my reflection is on the small things in my life that are adding up. Am I making small choices today that will lead me to great things? Or am I making small choices that will lead to unwanted consequences?

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