Yesterday I sat beside him with a ruler and showed him how small a millimeter is, and how many of them it takes to make a centimeter, and I thought about how quickly the numbers get big when the distance is so small, that 10 centimeters equals 100 millimeters… and what does this mean?
I call out spelling words for a test, review vocabulary flashcards, help with geometry problems, and go to the library, all part of my slow, nice, relaxing day yesterday. I wish I remembered to write down things like this daily, because at the end of the day when the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and the laundry isn’t folded and the house is as far from perfect as it could ever be, and I’ll never be Martha Stewart (and I confess, I’m not trying to be), I’d like to smile as I remember what we did and realize there will be days like this and my goal is not perfection, but love…. and I try to remember this when I’m tempted to listen to voices that tempt me to believe that I don’t matter or I’m a failure, and remind myself of the voice that matters, the one that says “well done, good and faithful servant and look in the direction that builds up, not down, and what is important in life.
So each night I hug the youngest who is getting bigger and remind myself that those who are as tall as me or taller need the hugs too… and the tallest one won’t let anyone pray for him at bedtime anymore…. I know his heart hurts and he is growing and needs love as much as anyone does at any age, and it makes my heart hurt, too, so I still pray for him but alone and silently, because when does a mother ever stop praying for her own kids?
Unnumbered thoughts and questions race through my mind each day, from the immediate situation to the longer-term future to the known and the unknowns. And only God knows the answers to any of these questions, as I walk through life day after day.
And on earth here, trapped in time and space, God reminds me that he can divide the smallest unit of matter and space into pieces I can’t see, he can get closer to me than a millimeter and inhabit my very soul, my heart, he can get into each invisible internal cell. And that is not all, even from far away, there is no place I can hide from him, whether in the bottom of the sea or in an airplane or under the bed.
That’s why a millimeter matters.
And I want the kids to know this, this kind of closeness, this kind of knowing God— I long for them to know Him, not the things about him or to be perfect, because no one can ever know it all or be it all, but we can know him the best we can, finding him as the source of love and all that is good. Because when the world rejects, people’s words hurt, when relationships falter, when money is gone, jobs are lost, when health fails… what falls, the pieces, what is left, is what matters, is what he picks up and holds and kisses and says, “It will be Ok.”
And that is just the message I needed to hear from him today. It brought me to tears, this message I needed to be reminded of again.
I know what can get smaller than a millimeter, kids, and why you need to know, if you should ask.
Sharing with sweet Emily at Imperfect Prose: