What small thing, offered in love, has been life-giving for you?
Mother Teresa said,
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Frankly, I like to think of myself as a big thing do-er. Don’t bother me with the small stuff. If just anyone can do it, well then, let them. Don’t bother me. I’m saving myself for the one thing only I can do. Pretty arrogant, huh? Not only that, but it leaves me totally frozen in my tracks. Because how in the world do you get started on such a big thing without attending to the small?
So this Lent I have embarked on doing one small thing each day “out of the goodness of my heart.” I wrote in (this post) about realizing right away that my heart wasn’t nearly so good as I thought it was. This week I have been looking at Mother Teresa’s words and her example.
“We can only do small things with great love.”
Great love? I don’t have that either. But wouldn’t you know that sometimes when I do these small things, big stuff comes of it? Or at least it seems big to me. An encouraging email I send gets an immediate response and opens another opportunity. A kind word I offer gets smiles and opens up another conversation. A prayer I lift suggests an idea I never would have thought of but now may become a blessing of community to many.
Now where did that big stuff come from? Me? No way. The things I did were small. Trust me, exceedingly small. But they are at the bequest of the One who whispers in my ear all the time. Wendy, why don’t you….? And so I have. What have I got to lose? It’s just small stuff.
But isn’t it the small stuff we remember? The kind word, the welcome invitation, the nice note or phone call, the person who came by, the kid who sat with us when no one else would. These were small things, but for some reason they have stayed with us. In our hearts they have grown to be big things. Certainly way bigger than the acts themselves. Those people weren’t trying to change us, but, in fact, they have.
The truth I am hearing is, if I were to set out today to make a big difference in someone’s life or a big splash in the world, I would not know where to begin. And the weight of such responsibility would crush me. Imagine, though, what God might so with small things done in His love. It is this, after all, which suggests it to me in that mini voice in my ear.
He really doesn’t ask much. But then the words of my middle school social studies teacher weren’t much. I’m sure he doesn’t even recall saying, “Wendy, there’s something about your writing.”
I could never have known what those words would come to mean. Neither could he. It was a small thing. But I remember them. That’s what the spirit of love does, it brings things to mind.
What small thing has been a source of great love in your life? Would you please share it in the comments? I would be so grateful.
You know, small things add up. Just ask the weatherman who is predicting 4-8 inches of snow! Oh Goodness!!
Posted on March 5, 2013, in In Action, Life, Mind and tagged God, goodness, kindness, life, love, mother teresa, random acts of kindness, service, serving, small stuff, small things, Spirit. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
I had always done public speaking, but I really did not consider myself to be “good” at it. You know, the kind of “good” that people notice. It was just something I did when I needed to. One of those days, when I had to speak, a woman with whom I had spoken a couple of times, came up to me and said, “You are such a gifted speaker. I wish I could do that!” Me? Really? It was a small thing I am sure she has long ago forgotten. I haven’t. That one little passing comment allowed me to be the spokesperson for Wheelchair Tennis Day in Georgia for many years and help run the speaker’s bureau for the 1996 Paralympic Games. I speak at church. I am currently seeking another non-prof to help with their awareness program. All of this is because of a relative stranger taking 30 seconds to do a “small” thing. I try to do one of these small mitzvahs every day. I hope I have helped someone see him/herself in a brighter light. I hope I have repaid the Spirit for this kindness.