“This is how she now believes life happens. One small thing at a time. A series of inconsequential junctions, any or none of which can lead to salvation or disaster. There are no grand moments where a person does or does not perform the act that defines their humanity. There are only moments that appear, briefly, to be this way.”
The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway
Sometimes a quote from a book catches my mind and my heart and doesn’t let go. I have been reading The Cellist of Sarajevo for awhile, but keep going back to the above quote over and over again. I cannot help but see the stunning truth in what the author says.
Every decision is one that can lead to either salvation or disaster. Many times we don’t know, even as we’re making those decisions, what the consequence will be. A kind word, a helpful hand – or, sadly, just the opposite – an unkind gesture, a self-motivated moment of anger – and it can completely change a person’s life. I am more aware of this working in the church for as long as I have. What we say and do, how we act to each other and ourselves, all those things matter. A lot. More than we would like to admit.
The message of the quote is simple to me – it’s not about the big moments, it’s about the little ones. The moments where we reach out to friends, to strangers, to enemies. The moments where we offer grace and forgiveness or allow ourselves to feel righteous anger. The moments where we choose to be something greater or lesser than all we can be. The moments where we forget about our own selfish ambition and the chip on our shoulders and accept that the world is full of people who challenge and change us. Those are the moments that define humanity, not a huge statement in front of the masses.
Most of us will live “small” lives. We will never be famous or well-known. We won’t speak in front of thousands and our message may never leave the small community in which we find ourselves living and breathing. But, that doesn’t make our statement or our life any less important. Our small lives and the small actions within that life, will shape the rest of our story – and the story of countless other people.
Sometimes it’s important for me to remember that my story and my life does matter in the grand scheme of things, no matter how small I think it may be. Sometimes I need to be reminded that everything matters – one way or the other. What about you?