2020 has been a year to remember. It has been challenging, and in many ways heartbreaking. Yet, as the holidays and the season of giving approaches and we take time to connect with our loved ones and reflect, I want to share with you something special that was once shared with me. I encourage you all to find “beauty in small things.”
A few years ago, I was fortunate to have my path briefly cross with an individual like no other. A brilliant statistician, innovative thought-leader, and friend. The day he hired me to work as a member of his research, analytics, and innovation team was also the day that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. During the time I spent working with him, he shared everything and anything he could. He was passionate about data and ensuring that his work, our work, would also “not just be the numbers but would have an impact.”
He taught me to be curious, but patient in those years. Shared that laughter was always welcome at the board room table, and to not to take yourself so seriously. He was kind and maybe a little rough around the edges; a model leader, despite not ever wanting to step into that roll. He believed creativity was one of our most important tools in the toolbox. And he made everyone around him want to be a little better than before.
Most of all Mike Fassino taught me to “find beauty in small things.” In the time before he passed away, he shared his love for nature and the small, nuanced things in the world. He loved the unusual and the unique. Music and food were joyous gifts and should be shared between friends and family. There was beauty to be found in all things, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. The worn door on the house at the end of the street with the peeling paint, the caterpillar making a journey across the rock garden, sunlight streaming through the tree canopy, the taste of freshly brewed coffee, all beautiful in their own right.
2020 has been hard, but it has also been beautiful in its own unique way. There has been a lot of laughter in our home. Lots of days where pajamas were worn and ice cream eaten for breakfast. There was coffee on the back porch watching the sunrise, and moments of wonderment watching that same sun set across the horizon and a fire break out across the sky in hues of pink and gold.
As I stopped to reflect on 2020 and embrace Mike’s words, I realized that 2020, despite its ongoing chaos, has truly been an opportunity. It has been a time to value the BIG, the sacrifices and hard work of our essential workers out on the front lines providing care and service to the most vulnerable. A time to usher in innovation, ingenuity, and creativity as we all work to stay home and stay safe. But it has also been a time to value the SMALL, to value and appreciate one another, our humanness despite our flaws; to be thankful for one another and the unique and wonderful gifts each of us brings. Mike taught me to find and be grateful for beauty in the seemingly insignificant and small, for those small things, those small moments add to our overall life experience.
So, as the chaos of 2020 continues around us, I encourage you remember to enjoy the little things, to find hope in the promise of what is to come and the strength in those who you surround yourself with, and most of all to find the “beauty in small things.”
- Emilie Bartolucci, Executive Director, Private Duty Home Care at NAHC