Monday, May 17, 2010

The Little Things

I was at a large gathering of my husband's family this weekend. There were several relatives there I hadn't met before, and many others we haven't seen in a very long time. This included one of my husband's great uncles, who we met briefly several years ago. He is in his eighties, and I honestly don't even recall where we met. A wedding, maybe? Since that time, we've sent him a Christmas card each year. In this day and age, this is really not a big deal. You just type in the address, and it prints out with all the others. However, this gentleman did not regard this as a small thing. He made a point to tell me how much he appreciated our cards, and what a kind and thoughtful person I am for sending it to him. Huh. Who would have thought?

My lesson from this brief encounter is that we can never know the impact small gestures will have on someone else. I wonder if the Starbucks cashier knows how pleased she made me by complimenting my make-up this morning? That made it easier for me to smile at people in line at Walgreens, and maybe they will be more likely to offer a kind word to the next person they meet. It's an epidemic of kindness and love! That's so much nicer than the typical pattern of anger and frustration seeping from one person to infect the next. Little gestures can brighten a bad day, or make a person feel appreciated. I know I will be more likely to look for small ways to be kind after realizing the impact something so little can make to another person.

1 comment:

  1. The small kindnesses do matter- thank you for sharing this experience. I love the words spoken by Mother Teresa, "There are no great acts. There are only small acts done with great love." You also mention noticing small kindnesses expressed toward you and how uplifting they were- this is gratitude even for the small things. I'm trying to develop my capacity for feeling gratitude for life, as an antidote for the habitual, unconscious tendency toward negativity and judgment. Just today I came across this sentence from William Blake for the first time: "Gratitude is heaven itself." One of my all-time favorite books is a children's book called "One Smile" by Cindy McKinley. My kids and I have read it countless times and it is about a cascade of positive ripples from one smile- which is what you are communicating in this post. Thanks again! Colleen