How many times have you heard that statement, seen it on shirts, billboards, or bumper stickers?
Two thoughts came to mind when I saw that sign recently, the first being stature, as in height.
On a big hair day, and I do mean 80’s style BIG HAIR day, I reach 5’2″, which by fashion standards classifies me as Petite.
I’m sure I topped 5′ 2″ with this “electrified” Big Hair for Halloween
That means that when I was growing up, I often had to find some sort of mound or rail to help launch myself into the stirrups and onto the back of whatever mount I was riding; I had to take more than twice as many steps as my walking and running partner who stood about 5’10”; and I had to move my arms and legs that much faster than all of my swimming competitors.
On the flip side, I could actually fit into spaces that my taller friends and family couldn’t; places like our household dryer, a favorite hideaway for those rousing games of Hide-and-Seek.
I’ve never really lamented my height, because I can always use a ladder for those light bulb changes or ask a fellow patron to reach something on the grocer’s top shelf.
The other thought that came to mind when I saw that Size Matters sign was that of community.
Growing up in the big city of Raleigh, I never appreciated the value of readily available modern convenience, and never really recognized my anonymity.
Then I moved to Small Town, USA where entertaining myself, and later my little ones, meant a keen and vigilant eye; a place where privacy is not much different than trying to go to the bathroom with curious toddlers around.
In Small Town, USA everybody knows everybody’s business and if they don’t know you, well they’re sure to know your cousin or the next door neighbor who provides Neighborhood Watch services from behind her bedroom drapes.
“Small town, BIG GOSSIP” is a catchphrase I began using not too many years into my little-town lifestyle.
The lack of discretion can be infuriating and embarrassing and saddening and hilarious, all at the same time, and has often nearly driven me crazy or back to Big Town life.
And yet, there is the other, cozier side to a small-time city.
You know the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know?”
Outside of politics and Hollywood, I doubt that sentiment could be any closer to the truth than in small towns.
One of the first times I fully realized this Small Town Phenomenon was the year I’d ordered a new computer, which ended up being delivered late afternoon on the day we were leaving for a Myrtle Beach vacation.
Given the fact that my device had died, I needed that new computer and given the fact that our vacation had been prepaid, I really didn’t want to delay our trip by a day.
After a few minutes of stress, and a few choice swear words, I realized that my dilemma wasn’t a problem at all.
It just so happened that our normal UPS delivery guy and his family were friends of ours.
A few quick phone calls and I’d arranged to meet him at whatever delivery site he happened to be at once we were on the road.
Yesterday, at three-thirty, while Warren and I enjoyed lunch out during our mini getaway, I received a phone call from Big Guy, who’d lost one of his contacts in a soccer game and wondered how he could get a replacement pair.
The only problem was that he was calling from Paris, as in France, where he is spending a week traveling and playing fútbol.
Go figure. The boy is the only person in the family who wears corrective lenses and in the hundreds of games he’s played he has never encountered a problem. Hence, none of us thought about packing a spare set.
So, here we are: Him thousands of miles from home, us five hours away, and the product sitting on top of the medicine cabinet in his bathroom.
Here’s one of the warm and fuzzy sides of Small Town, USA: We’re on a first name basis with everyone who works in our local post office.
Of course I also happen to have their direct line programmed into my phone, which meant I could call them, discuss my situation and possible solutions, and ask for their help.
In the next hour and forty-five minutes, I obtained the European address of the hotel my boy was transferring to the next day, private messaged the location to one of the office staff’s Facebook page, contacted Warren’s parents who delivered said items, and received confirmation that my boy’s eye-wear was on it’s way to Amsterdam, ahead of my son and his team.
Aside from the convenience and luxury of helping hands, most small towns are comprised of a unique camaraderie, one that is truly the heartbeat of community.
Turns out our rural post office hadn’t sent a Global Express package in more than ten years, so filling out the required forms and computer data was no easy task. Instead of tell me they couldn’t do it until the next day, they went above and beyond to stay late while contacting the necessary advisers to make sure they had everything right.
Not because they had to, but because they had a personal investment in the delivery, they had a face and a name and a sort of kinship to the sender as they’ve literally watched my children grow up.
They are a part of our community, one where people take care of one another, a place where it’s unlikely scoundrels will be messing with your property because they know, peeping eyes are everywhere.
Journeyer, we are a community, you and me and all of our neighbors who are currently transitioning from grief to healing, all those whose loss event is fresh, and those of us who have traversed bereavement and are living our best personal, professional, and philanthropic lives, even in the adversity’s dust.
Sometimes our loss, for whatever reason, seems insignificant yet imposes a BIG impact on our lives.
Sometimes our loss is identified by society as being BIG, yet we incur little negative impact.
That’s because size is uniquely relative, based solely on the personal experiences and emotions we bring to the table.
What matters most is how we feel, how we respond to our circumstance, and how we choose to eventually acknowledge, accept, identify with, and label the size of our situation.
This is also true for the positive experiences we encounter.
Think about how a stranger’s smile, an encouraging word, or seeing the sun break through the clouds can instantly change your mood.
That is the core of my weekly Happy Happens column, to help us notice how those small moments can make big shifts in how we feel, think, and relate to the world in and outside of ourselves.
One of my many mantras is “Everything in life is a trade-off.” Though we may desperately want back whatever we have lost, Journeyer, when we can find a way to accept that we can be okay with whatever happened–which is vastly different from saying that what happened is okay–then the size of our loss no longer has a stranglehold over us…
Would love to hear your thoughts! Sound off on size!
Until we meet again, yours in hope, healing, and happiness,