PLAIN THOUGHTS: Small beginning

Published 12:04 pm Monday, October 25, 2021

By Judith Hensley

When a child begins to attempt walking, no one criticizes them if they fall down and have to get back up many times. Often, someone will run to their aid and help them get back on their feet. We cheer and clap. We encourage the little one to keep trying.

The same thing is true when they try to use a spoon to shovel the first food into their mouths. The food goes everywhere. They will give up and stick their fingers in the middle of what they’re trying to eat until someone cleans them up and puts the spoon back in their hand. Even as they improve, they will need a bib for a long time to guard from the messes.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we took this realistic approach to life and could see others with the same compassion when they are trying to master something new?

A student who has just started trying to play the saxophone or trumpet is probably not going to hit every note correctly in the beginning. There may be a whole lot of sour notes produced before the right ones start flowing out.

A new driver will not hold the vehicle as steady on the road in their first 10 miles as they will after 500,000. No one would expect them to.

Anyone’s first day on the job will not go as smoothly as it does after several months of doing the same thing. We all learn as we go.

Our beginnings are small.

Rembrandt had to make a first stroke with his brush. Beethoven had to touch his first instrument and attempt a pleasant note. Galileo had to look up to the stars as a child before they became significant to him. Christopher Columbus had to take his first boat ride.

In the Bible there is a story about a man named Zerubbabel who was rebuilding a temple. He had to start with a plumb line and a foundation, one stone at a time. God spoke to this man that he should not despise small beginnings.

A castle, a bridge, a home – all start from a small beginning. One step at a time the structure is built

We are too critical of ourselves and others when we look at their lives and expect them to be perfected from the beginning. Growing up, growing old, growing at any time is a matter of small beginnings.

My first published words appeared in the newspaper when I was in third grade. I didn’t have a clue that even then God was planting within me a desire to produce the written word. I didn’t realize all the steps that would have to happen before I’d ever see my first book in print. None of it would have happened, nor this newspaper column that has been running for almost twenty-five years without those first words in print – a paragraph on a children’s page about a toy sewing machine I got for Christmas.

We live in a culture that wants instant fame, instant gratification, instant bossing status, without going through the little beginnings, the small things necessary to bring the big things about. The bank president didn’t get there without crunching a lot of numbers and demonstrating skill on his/her rise to the top. A pastor never became the head of a church without many smaller sermons to get him there. A stone mason never learned his trade without picking up his first rock.

Let us be patient with each other – with the drug addict who is recovering, with the student who is struggling, with the new mother who is overwhelmed, with the newlyweds who are adjusting, or the ball player learning to dribble. Let none of us undervalue the importance of small beginnings.