Be Careful With The Crumbs

Here, this morning, my mind travels to a short poem by Gunilla Norris that I found in a beautiful book, Midwives of an Unnamed Future by Mary Ruth Broz, RSM and Barbara Flynn. You may find me quoting passages from these pages many times as we walk this journey together. The photos in the book are as inspiring as are the words.

This lovely little poem, “Even Crumbs are Bread”, is one I’ve committed this to memory…I often have to remind myself to “be careful with the crumbs”.

Be careful with the crumbs.

Don’t overlook them.

Be careful with the crumbs:

The little chances to love.

The tiny gestures, the morsels

That feed the minims.

Take care of the crumbs

A look, a laugh, a smile,

A teardrop, an open hand.  Take care

Of the crumbs.  They are food also.

Do not let them fall.

Gather them.  Cherish them.

How many times over the past three months, when I’m feeling sad and frustrated, have I relied on these beautiful words to bring me back to a place of calm reality? Pre pandemic, it was exciting to look forward to all the joyous celebratory occasions that were on the horizon. We eagerly looked forward to the upcoming graduations of not one, but two of our grandsons! There were school plays and concerts, weddings, travel plans, so many family birthdays – all those huge happy events, bringing everyone together… times that memories are made of! But now, here we are, not knowing what the future holds, or when such celebrations will be able to resume, or if even the smallest of gatherings will be safe.

So, I think of the poem – and I imagine “the crumbs” – those “little chances to love”…those “tiny gestures”.  Bob and I coming together at 3:00 each afternoon for the next competitive round of our 500 Rummy championship. (I’m ahead by about 600 points right now…just saying). Or the Face Time calls from the kids, long talks with my sisters, our driveway drop-bys to our kids’ homes when we can’t stand not seeing them for another minute. Sharing take-out with another couple as we social distance on our patio. Envisioning our kids and their kids safe and together, building lasting memories as they form even tighter family units. The joy in my tiny garden, the silliness of our sweet sheepadoodle, MaggieMoo. and the silence…stillness.

No, these are not the noisy, gleeful, colorful celebrations we are used to.

These are not the times that family photo albums will capture.

But these are the times that grow and comfort my heart and soul, making me think about what is truly central and essential to my well-being – what I really need, and what I can easily do without.

Small, trivial, insignificant, inconsequential though they may appear, it is these “crumbs” that I must reverence.  How blessed I am to have so many in my life!

What are the “crumbs” in you life?  Please share your thoughts with us here.