“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "A Case of Identity"
The year I graduated from college, I got a job and moved in with family friends. They were more family than friends, so when they bought a house, they got one with an in-law apartment so I could move in with them. It was great! I had my own entrance and bathroom and living space, but what I didn’t have was a kitchen.
One month the grandmother came to visit and noticed me going in and out of their kitchen. Shortly after she left, I received an electric tea kettle in the mail. (At that time, I didn’t know an electric tea kettle was even a thing!) She said she thought I might enjoy being able to make my own tea in my little apartment. I loved the fact that I could plug it in and make my tea.
My kettle has traveled with me to several states. It’s been with me through marriage and divorce and the birth of my three children. That little tea kettle is the only way my children have ever made tea.
During the pandemic, the tea kettle came in handy. It spent time in all our bedrooms and in my office. It’s easy to grab and plug in just before a meeting, and ensures warm beverages during long Zoom calls. The other day during one such meeting, I prepared everything for my meeting and my tea and plugged in the kettle. Partway through the meeting, I noticed the kettle was still cold. Later I checked in with my daughter who said that most days, the kettle no longer works.
This little tea kettle has seen me through so much of my adult life. I know it’s okay to let it go but I can’t—because I feel sad to lose a spiritual practice that I didn’t even realize I had; a practice I took for granted but that I can now recognize, honor, and appreciate. So for now, the kettle sits cold and unused in my room.
As I let it go (or try to let it go), I wonder if there are other things I must say goodbye to that I’m not quite ready to let go of.
Spirit of Life, may we notice more often the small things we rely on to navigate through life, and honor them when it’s time to let them go.