Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Little things mean a lot”? It is true little things do make a difference. It is the little things, the ordinary things, the run-of-the-mill things, that bring change to an individual or that comes to represent change to the world.
For example, it was Rosa Parks’ decision not to sit in the back of the bus that gave rise to the civil rights movement and placed Martin Luther King Jr. to the forefront of history.
Rachel Carson and her mother took walks in the woods, which brought interest of nature to Rachel and she became a marine biologist, author and conservationist whose book “Silent Spring” bought about today’s environmental movement.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 states, “encourage one another. When we see someone who seems sad or discouraged do we say a good word? Our encouragement may be exactly what that person needs. It is important to encourage those who could benefit from a kind word or a warm greeting, which would be most of us.”
Speaking of a warm greeting which can make a difference, this story is told in the Christopher News Notes, March 1990. Richard Levangie, writing in the Catholic Digest, tells of his despondency at the age of 19 following the death of his father, three other relatives and a close friend. One day, feeling especially empty, he went to Mass in a strange church and sat off to the side, barely participating in the rite.
At the sign of peace, he recalled, “Two elderly women hobbled over to my solitary corner on fragile legs. Their journey seemed to take forever, and yet their greeting was warm and caring. In the moment it took them to arrive, I made the decision to rejoin the living.”
During the height of the pandemic, the request went out for prayers for Dr. Hugh Dresbach who had COVID-19. He was extremely ill and had been hospitalized. When I spoke with him yesterday, he said he was in the “valley of death,” and that someone died everyday. He also said that his doctor was ready to sign his death certificate each day, but in the end, he did not die. He steadily regained his health and was released from the hospital. It was God and the prayers of the people who got him through this and he is forever grateful to everyone who prayed for him.
This year, prior to Valentine’s Day, a family gathered together to make Valentine’s for the residents of Brown Memorial Home. Since the residents could not receive visitors, this family thought this was one way to lift their spirits during this holiday. Brown Memorial sent a letter thanking the family for the kindness shown to the residents.
Other ways that little things matter is to say good morning to someone you see or hold the door open for another person, pass on news that is positive when possible, offer a sincere compliment, check with a friend who is not feeling well and run errands for that individual while doing your own, phone a shut-in who would like to hear a friendly voice and add an item or two to your grocery list for the local food pantry, or share some soup you just made with a neighbor, just to name a few.
Boy Scout Troop #170 masked up this year and went door-to-door collecting food for the Emergency Clearinghouse Food Pantry and others in the community also have been contributing. Filling up the shelves at the pantry for those in need brings a smile to the faces of those who are hungry.
During the pandemic, sending cards/notes or calling those that are homebound or we do not see very often is a God sent to many people. I know for a fact that when I received a note or a phone call to see how I was doing, that was such a blessing to me. I have friends in the parish that also receive cards/phone calls and they are pleasantly surprised and thankful that someone took the time to remember them.
Jean Vanier, founder of The Arch homes for the mentally disabled, once wrote, “A society is composed of many people, with many roles. But in all these roles, the same principle applies: small is beautiful.”
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
St. Mother of Teresa of Calcutta and St. Theresa of Lisieux
Mary Kay Wood is a retired pastoral minister at St. Joseph Catholic Church and a member of the Pickaway County Ministerial Association.