Seeing small

As Chapter 9 (“Go Lower”) of One Thousand Gifts begins, author Ann Voskamp is recording her blessings via the lens of her camera.  She is pleasantly interrupted by her young daughter, who is all of three and a half feet tall.  Her daughter wants to take pictures as well.  With operating instructions from Ann and camera in hand, the daughter’s unadulterated joy permeates the room as she embarks on her photo shoot.

When mother and daughter sit down to scroll through the pictures, Ann is surprised by the photos.  She finally realizes the surprise reflects her daughter’s perspective and vantage point.  What looks normal to an adult is huge in her daughter’s smaller world.  Ann concludes:

“If the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude, and gratitude itself is but a way of seeing, a spiritual perspective of smallness might offer a vital way of seeing especially conducive to gratitude.”

It then follows, Ann notes, that all wonder and worship grows out of smallness.  Martin Luther and G. K. Chesterton both captured this essence of smallness.  Martin Luther once said: “God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.”  Somewhat more succinctly, G. K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy) observed: “How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.”


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Dave Henning

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