ornamentToday as I put away the Christmas ornaments yet again, I am reminded of the little things that make life sweeter and more poignant. There is the thumbprint ornament my daughter made when she was three – now she is 22. There are the ornaments my husband and I bought to remind us of the many places we have lived. And there are the ornaments that have lasted since my childhood – cherished and repaired over and over.

In a world inundated with 24-hour media releases about all the tragedy and suffering that the world holds, I must take care to remember all the things that matter most in my personal life. I want to know what is happening in the world and be an active citizen, but I can watch all the news and get lost in a downward spiral, despairing for the future of society, and that doesn’t let me fully experience the little things that make me smile, laugh hysterically, or cry. Or the news might inspire me to take up social justice issues right and left, leaving no time for the people who are in my home every day — the people who really count on me to be there.

In my dreams I have time to be everything to everyone in my life, and be that superhero justice-maker that works tirelessly for a cause. That’s what I want to be and I am in awe of those who constantly work for justice without ever seeming to stop and rest. But I’ve discovered that for me justice begins with treating myself with kindness and compassion, and when I keep constant tabs on the media, I am on edge and off-balance.

In reality, I am only human, and I need rest and renewal. I’ve found that those small moments when I connect in real time over coffee, over dinner, on a walk, looking at photos, sharing stories with the people who are dear to me — those moments fill my heart and renew my spirit. Taking time for the little things is key to my ability to withstand the societal disappointments and suffering that surround me.

May you find time this new year to enjoy the little moments and have your heart filled.