Too Small?

In the book I’m reading I found the following little story by Anthony de Mello:


After watching television together for thirty years, a man says to his wife:

“Tonight, let’s do something really exciting!”

Immediately she starts having visions about a night into town.

“Fantastic”, she replies. “What shall we do?”

“We could switch chairs……….”


That’s all the man could come up with after 30 years: switching the chairs. And yes, I think the book is right about concluding that this feels very small. A very small desire. The book continues with the following story:


In a small town by the border lives an old man. He has lived in the same house for 50 years.One day – much to the surprice of his environment – he decides to move to the the house next door.

Reporters of the local newspaper come to see him and ask him for his reasons.

The man smiles happy and answers:  “I think it’s the gypsy in me.”


The writer calls this shriveled up desires. Made this way by our self-satisfaction.

But………isn’t that too negative thinking?

Isn’t every step just that: a step?

And doesn’t every walk start with just that: one step?


What if switching chairs makes the first man sit closer to the window?

What if every now and then, during commercials, he starts looking outside?

What if switching chairs is just step one?

Isn’t it sad to think he might not do it, because the step seems too small, to insignificant?


What if the second man answers to his dreams of moving.

What new dreams could he start having?


Maybe we make ourselves smaller than we are sometimes.

A lot smaller.

But let’s not be afraid of small steps.

Even if they seem silly or insignificant.


My first step was to pick up a paintbrush.

Not to paint a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa.

Not to become the new Frida Kahlo.

But to have fun.

To play with color and paint.

To listen and be curious.

To start something new.


Look where it got me!





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