Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Little Things

The Hickle boys in Deer Lodge, Montana ~ October, 2011

Keith in Swedish Hospital ~ March, 2011

“It’s the little things in life…”

Seems I’ve heard that phrase so many times the meaning had become lost to me.  Tonight, I found it.

A group of us went to dinner at a local Mexican place to celebrate birthdays.  I love going out to dinner in our small town, because jeans and tennies are always nice enough, and you’re sure to run into friends while you’re there.  My favorite thing about this particular restaurant is that countless Polaroid pictures of all who celebrate birthdays there fill the walls.  I’m sure more than half the town has worn that sombrero and eaten tortilla chips loaded with cinnamon sugar, honey, and whipped cream, all while being serenaded in Spanish.  Something about that familiarity makes me smile. J

The night was lots of fun…just catching up and laughing over silly stuff.  At least, that’s what was happening at the “girls” end of the table.  I’m not really sure what the guys were doing, but I know they weren’t half as loud as we were.  I’m sure we spent half our time asking each other if the kids were all right; we had left the oldest boy (14) in charge of 10 younger kids, with nine of them being boys.  Gosh, that sounds more dangerous in hindsight than it did in the planning stages!

Aside from enjoying a kid-less meal and laughing a whole lot, the night was mostly uneventful.  Just a great night with great friends.  It wasn’t until we got home and Keith began talking, that I realized what a big deal tonight was for him.  I hadn’t taken the time to think about it, but this was our first going-out-to-dinner with friends since before he was sick.  As the rest of us had been chit-chatting over whatever, he was taking in every moment with thankfulness.  He said to me, “Brook, you can’t imagine how it felt to do something like that for the first time, after wondering to myself not long ago if it was something I would ever get to do again.”

I had come home smiling about the night as I viewed it…simple, fun, cheap, close to home, among a number of other practical things.  I hadn’t needed to argue with children over French fries vs. rice and beans, clean up multiple glasses of spilled pop, or be the restroom escort.  Life was good.  Keith came home smiling because tonight was one of many answered prayers for him.  Isn’t it amazing how our perspectives can be so different from one another, even when we experience the same thing?

One year ago this week, the first of Keith’s noticeable symptoms of Wegener’s began.  Four and a half difficult months later, he was hospitalized and diagnosed.  A month after that, he was released and returned home in worse condition yet.   A blur of months followed.  Fast forward to dinner tonight, and there he was, a regular guy, out having dinner with his friends.

I went through tonight feeling like we never skipped a beat this past year.  Forgetting that anything ever happened.  He remembered every detail.  He took in everything with a new kind of joy.  God fills our lives with blessings of all sorts.  Keith reminded me tonight to keep my eyes open for them.

It truly is the “little things” that become the big things when we realize that the sum of all the little things is what makes our life what it is. 


  1. Words cannot express how I love and admire a family I've never even met. God bless you all. Keith is a choice son of God, and you are an elect daughter. I pray for God's richest blessings in life for you and your treasured family.

  2. This post just made me smile super big!!! wow, it's been a year!!! but just another proof of
    God's goodness in your life!!!

  3. God works in ways I will NEVER understand. I read this immediately after posting my own "One Year Later" story. I only can say that God directs me to you, when he knows I need a little inspiration! I am so thankful to hear Keith is doing so well!!! Biggest Hugs to all of you!!!

  4. I love all of you...Jan, Gloria, and Kerry! :) Thank you for your super sweet comments! God is SO very good!