Small Things

“There is no such thing as coincidence in this world. There is only hitsuzen.”

If you’re into manga, you may recognize this as being Yuko Ichihara’s (the time and space witch from CLAMP’s xxxHolic and Tsubasa manga series) favorite thing to say. Hitsuzen is “that which was meant to happen.” So, nothing happens but that which was meant to happen. Destiny and fate exist, and they are powerful. That is one of the central themes of xxxHolic, which is really a wonderful manga, by the way. Who made up the plan? Who put destiny into place? XxxHolic doesn’t go into that side of things, which can be rather sticky, but since I don’t care about having controversial opinions, I’m going to say what I believe: I believe that God–the God of the Christian Bible–is the One who made the plan. The One who decides what is meant to happen. The One who put everything in place. Predestination and fate have all sorts of ramifications on free will and such, but I shan’t go into those in this post, because it can get very confusing and contradictory. Perhaps in the future I’ll delve deeper into my opinions on the subject.

So why am I opening a post on the power of small things by talking about hitsuzen? Well, hopefully the answer is obvious. If nothing happens but that which was meant to happen, then it follows that everything that happens is important in some way. This means that there is no such thing as a truly “small” choice, or event, or circumstance. Everything has consequences. This leads into the next point I’d like to make: everything is connected.

“No man is an island.” You’ve all heard that saying, right? Well, I believe it is true of every single thing in this world. There is an unknowable chain of consequences extending from every action you take. You can never know how many people will be affected, what things will be changed by what you do. Something that seems very small in your mind could have very large ramifications to people who you hardly even know. Which leads to the next point….

Everything has a price. Absolutely everything. A little thought will show you the truth of this: even breathing has a cost, in the energy it takes to respire. Food, transportation, homes–all those things have steep costs, which I’m sure everyone is well aware of. But what not everyone seems to realize is that every action taken has a cost of some kind, and someone–quite often not the person who deserves to, or can even afford to–must pay. Even good decisions have a price. For example: awhile ago I had a friend. We were extremely close, but our relationship was falling apart. It was hurting both of us very much to keep being in that relationship. We both needed to move on and get out of each other’s lives. I knew my friend wouldn’t agree to this, so I took the initiative and ended the relationship. At the time I believed it was the only choice I could make, for both our sakes. At first, things seemed to be going well. I was a lot less stressed; it was nice not to have to fight with this person anymore. But then I found out what the effect on my friend had been… she paid the price for my decision. She paid a very steep price. I will never forget that lesson.

So what do I mean to say by all this? Well, I certainly don’t want to make you all afraid to step outside your houses! Everything has a price and everything is connected, and we can’t know what the full extent of the consequences of our actions will be. But this is no reason not to step outside. You know why? Because there is no coincidence in this world. There is only hitsuzen. And God’s the one who made up hitsuzen.

Considering all that, can any choice really be called “small”? Small things are very powerful. Small people, small events, small changes. There are countless examples from history, from the Bible, from the present day to support this. Think of Jesus Christ. Just a small-town carpenter. Think of how America started. Some people were annoyed with having to pay taxes. How petty and common a thing is that? Think of the way you met your best friend. Did any of the choices leading up to that seem like big things at the time?

I would like to conclude by saying this: be aware of your choices. Understand the price to be paid for each one. Realize that even the smallest thing could have far-reaching consequences. Take heart from the knowledge… and be afraid… and most importantly, don’t let it paralyze you.

And on that melodramatic note, I shall end this post. I hope I’ve given everyone some food for thought.

~Jared

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