The Little Details

shadow“Consider the lilies,” Jesus said. That line has always been a great supporter of Ignatian spirituality’s main feature of awareness. Jesuit Anthony de Mello always spoke much about awareness as a way to help us let go of the things that we don’t control and an important skill to have in the endeavour for personal and spiritual growth.

Awareness is the key to unlocking the gifts of Ignatian spirituality. It’s required for the examen, for discernment, for healthy relationships, and for a deeper prayer life. In fact, the only way I can continue writing fairly interesting posts for this blog is through a practice of awareness, of seeing God in the little details of life. There was a great scene in the second of a trilogy of movies that focuses on the relationship of Jesse and Celine, two strangers who randomly met on a train in Vienna and nine years later bumped into each other in Paris. The films consisted of them roaming the cities just conversing. Nothing more. In this unique format we hear some fascinating conversations about life.

In Before Sunset, the second film, Celine and Jesse are on a tourist riverboat in Paris and they begin conversing about the little details they notice in relationships. Celine recounts her memory of loving the little details when she was a young girl (begins at 1:05):

Amelie, in her movie, also had this attention to detail of the tiny things. They were the things that made life worthwhile and exciting. What I love about Celine’s story in Before Sunset is that her fascination with the chestnuts and the ants is that it pulled her out of her routine of walking to school. How often our own routines become mindless. Perhaps the little things can remind us that God cares about those as much as us, and maybe it’s why God places them in our lives. Celine continues on about the “beautiful” and “specific” details she sees in people that move her.

Detail in life is oft overlooked but isn’t it the tiny things that make things whole? Isn’t it the little nicks and scratches and experiences and talents and histories that have contributed to what makes me me? God’s universe is designed in this way, that the whole, the larger, is made up of smaller details – and when we reverse by looking back at those smaller and smaller details, we find delight and wonder in them.

How boring life would be if we weren’t aware of the little details in relationships. For many, a lack of awareness for one’s own details makes self-image bland and makes life bland. On the contrary. Go deeper into the perceived blandness and you’ll find that there are thousands of fantastic blessings that cry out for you to notice.

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Music by Kevin MacLeod

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