My 18th-month-old likes to dump things, She dumps toys out of bins, she dumps clothes out of the drawer and my least favorite, she dumps food off her tray. She will take her little bowl in her chubby hands and in one quick motion let the cereal and milk cascade to the floor. Even though she has done it many times before, it always rocks my obsessive compulsive tendency to the very core and I have to go down on my hands and knees tosop milk up with a towel and rescue individual cheerios from under the table. And then one day as I was grumbling on my hands and knees an inspiring quote stuck in my head and I have tried to keep it in mind ever since. It is a simple one line gem from St Therese of Lisieux:
“To pick up a pin for love of God can save souls.”
I do not pick up many pins in my house since it is a safety hazard and I have a houseful of toddlers who are likely to swallow such objects. But I do pick up a lot of other things. I pick up countless cheerios that have been thrown from chubby hands when the little princess decides she has had enough. I pick up the toys that have been scattered on every inch of my living room floor and cause me to wince in pain as I step on yet another pointy Barbie leg. I wipe up the remnants of the accident my three-year-old had on the bathroom floor. I pick up the dirty laundry that has been left in a heap for washing. I pick up the packages left by the mailman on the doorstep. I pick up the bills that need to be sorted and paid. I pick up my tired feet to go grocery shopping and make dinner for my family when I would rather just sit on the couch and relax.
If I could just do all this picking up with a conscious effort to offer it to God with a silent “I love you” prayer on my heart then maybe I could do another soul some good. It does not take much to make our days a living prayer by doing even the smallest thing in love but it does take much effort and trust. It takes faith to believe that all these little unseen actions that make up a day can be worth enough to help save souls; it takes motivation to actually persist in making the ordinary pins of the day into roses for God.
Sometimes it’s easier to grumble and complain about the picking up instead of offering it up. It’s easier to become stressed by the mess and to then waste it as an opportunity to love. My desire for cleanliness and productivity is often challenged in my world of toddlers and family life. But if I can turn that frustration into an opportunity to love, then I am following in the steps of one the greatest modern day saints. I can participate in God’s loving plan for souls one “pin” at a time but I still have a long way to go.
Learn more about the story of St. Therese of the little flower here.