This is likely very insignificant in the scheme of world events, but I just spent an hour brushing out this mysterious “gooey” substance from my 4-year-old’s hair and gathering all of her not quite long enough strands into two neat pigtails. It took one hour, seven broken tiny rubber bands, and poor girl, a few yelps as I tried to get the brush through the tangled nest.
I will say, my hair dressing finesse is not up to par and definitely not up to speed. When two of my best childhood friends went into beauty, I majored in English. There’s a reason for this! I reason too, I spent six years straight being a mom to two little boys who never needed more than an occasional comb, if at that.
I will also say here, when you’re trying to run a brush through sticky hair (again, still not sure of the cause … toothpaste, gum, maple syrup?), it’s astonishing how the morning escapes you.
Actually, this is my life. Time has never felt like it was on my side, ever. These days, especially, the hours slip by too quickly or way too slowly, and I am always feeling a bit out of sync either way.
It’s sobering to think of how many hours I spend doing an endless string of little things that appear at times, to amount to a blur or a tired heap of … little things. It’s also sobering to realize that in the one hour I’m going nowhere with pigtails, someone is out there performing a delicate surgery and saving a life, delivering a baby, writing a bestseller, serving our country.
There’s a significant world out there, that I sometimes long to be significant to. Maybe one day? Maybe never.
I don’t know.
But when I see my daughter’s tangled hair, I know that I’m doing what I’m called to do, at least in this moment.
So when I was finally able to gather her hair into two somewhat even pigtails, I said with great relief, “It’s done!”
“Thank you!” she exclaimed, just as relieved to be free. She smiled, swished her pigtails back and forth, and added, “I really like spending time with you, Mommy!”
I had to let that sink in for a while. l wasn’t expecting that!
There are many things one can do in an hour — many amazing, extraordinary, clever, artsy, wow-factor things.
But today, I got the chance to untangle a little girl’s sticky hair. And tomorrow it might be another small gesture.
And I can see in her glee, that there was a plan and a purpose for even that.
Sometimes I need to be reminded that it’s in the small ways we pour into each other, the quiet ways we commit to one another in the unglamorous day-to-day, that our life becomes meaningful. I forget so often that God is glorified in our small moments, too.
And maybe it’s when we say, I am sticking this through with you, and you are worth the untangling, that we love in a way that makes a difference? At least to that one … and to the one that one will touch and so forth.
I think it’s very likely that the ordinary things we do to hold a child, encourage a spouse, help a friend, listen to a co-worker, give to a stranger … mean a lot more than we think. I think we’ll one day be astonished at how love has this way of coming full circle.
And you know what? All of our lives are in some way, a world event.
Though our small acts go unnoticed and pigtails will fall flat by noon (yes she yanked them out at precisely 11:47 am) …
But it’s nice to get a bone thrown our way every now and then, yes? A little water for the thirsty? Or better yet, an appreciative smile from a four-year-old with lopsided pigtails?
I’m starting to believe that anytime we pour into another, no matter how small or how inadequate our finesse, we have lived that hour well.
And what more can we ask of ourselves?
Thanks for the bone, my sweet girl. You made my day!