On Small Things

13 09 2008

If one studies the Japanese painters, then one sees a man indisputably wise, philosophical, and intelligent, who spends his time doing what? Studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. Studying Bismarck’s politics? No, he studies a single blade of grass. Yet this blade of grass leads him to draw all plants, then the seasons, the great aspects of landscapes, finally animals, then the human figure…. Let us see: is it almost a real religion that we are taught by the oh-so-simple Japanese, who live within nature as if they themselves were flowers?

– Vincent van Gogh, originally quoted here

I have come to believe in salvation through small things. The morning walk, the woman’s smile, the wax that pours over the edge of the candle. Small things are the only things important enough, sacred enough, sturdy enough to put our hope in. They are our anchor, our strength, the very force of life pulsing through our limbs. I want to obsess over small things, and nothing else. Small things are the only things that can be the true vessels of God.