Friday, December 13, 2013

On Feeling Small in a Big World

I've been feeling small as of late. No, small isn't the right word. Infinitesimal. I've been feeling infinitesimal. Not the feeling of having little value or importance. I don't mean that at all. It is that the world around me has been impressing upon me its enormity, and my infinitesimalness by comparison.

We had our first snowfall of the winter. It was so pure, so peaceful. And while driving through the winter landscape the following day, I watched the sky, painted in reds and ambers and golds by the setting sun, set the white world aglow. The beauty before me made me almost ache. It was a beauty that went beyond anything man could possibly create. It was glorious. Heavenly. And it made me very aware of how very small I am.

this just doesn't do the view justice. at all.

I sat in a school assembly last week where a woman told us of her life in Nigeria where she lives and works with orphans. She showed pictures of the difficult living conditions, the massive snakes, the deplorable roads, the ants that annually march through their home (literally through) eating anything and everything in their path. She and her children cook over a fire. They carry water in buckets each morning so they can drink and bathe. And with her was her adopted son whose smile was wide as the horizon. A smile no amount of deprivation or difficulty had diminished. Looking at the enormity of the needs of those around the world (and the joy found in the midst of it), I felt so very small.

Each Christmas I sing in a Christmas production at our church. As a soloist, I usually hear my voice carrying out over the rest of the music. This year I'm singing a song from the perspective of Mary. It sounds almost like a lullaby at the beginning, soothing, soft, slow. Then the choir joins and the song builds til we come to a full-throated, full-orchestration moment where everyone proclaims "So praise to God on high! He has heard our cry!" During our dress rehearsal last night we came to that moment. I could no longer hear my own voice; I became a part of an explosion of sound that swept me up, lifted me heavenward. It was a moment of feeling the depths of my own smallness.

This feeling of smallness is a right perspective, I believe. I am part of something far bigger than myself, far more grandiose than I can rationally understand. Yet I am given a role. I have a purpose to fulfill in my short life, and there is a humility that is provoked when seeing myself in this light--a humility mixed with an overwhelming gratitude that small does not mean insignificant.

So as I turn my face toward Christmas and anticipate the celebration with family and friends, I want to keep this feeling of smallness close--this wonderful and mysterious sense of the magnitude of the world and its Creator and of my own small place within it all.


  1. I'm so glad you wrote this beautiful piece, Anna. What an awesome, awesome perspective and song. I can imagine how you felt as you sang. :)

    1. Thank you, Danni - it is a beautiful song. The arrangement i posted is different than the choral arrangement we're singing, but it's still beautiful

  2. What a beautiful sense of proportion you have given us, Anna. Lovely. I wish we could hear your solo. Have you thought of recording it and posting it here?

    1. Thank you, Drema. Im not sure im ready to put up videos of myself yet (esprcially of me singing)...maybe one say. Have a lovely christmas!


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