“Joe Gillis: You used to be in pictures. You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”
Sunset Boulevard (screenplay), Charles Bracket
I have to confess that I’m prone to envy sometimes when there are attributes in other people that I would like to have for myself. I would like to be able to play the piano, and, while I have a good musical ear and can tinkle the odd tune, I can’t play properly. I’d love to be able to recite chunks of Shakespeare or verses of poetry. And I wish I was six feet four.
Had my pattern of life and education been different, I could have done something about the first two of these. But as for the latter attribute, I can do nothing about that at all. I’ve always been small. But that doesn’t stop me wishing it was different. Stuck behind a phalanx of massive prop-forwards when I’m at a Rugby match, I want to be six feet four. When I feel claustrophobic in a crowd of people, I want to be six feet four. When I’m scanning a crowded room to find someone and have no idea where to turn first, I want to be six feet four. It’s not going happen, of course. Saving me carrying around a set of steps wherever I go, my “smallness” will just have to be lived with – which is what I’ve had to learn to do all my life.
Two things, however, offer me comfort. The first comes from the oft-quoted wisdom of my granny.
Guid gear gangs intae wee bulk.
In English? “Good things come in small packages.” Thanks, granny. But even more important are these words of Mother Teresa. In her lovely book, A Gift for God, written in 1975, she wrote:
We feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. I do not agree with the big way of doing things.
So, I am big, if not in stature, then in the way I see myself and my contribution to the world. However small, it will always be big enough.
A prayer for today
Lord, are there good things in the small package that’s me? I hope so! Amen
An original reflection © Tom Gordon