Sunday, December 28, 2014
“Every day God gives us the common occurrences of life. It is the little things we do which reveal the sweetness of our hearts.” — Ellen G. White
The picture at the right may be confusing to you. It looks like an empty plate that had something on it but is now gone. That’s exactly what it is, but as Thoreau says, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” I can look at that empty plate, but an empty plate is not what I see. What I see are the remains of the rum-less rum balls that Samantha Archer made for me. She made them because once, a few years ago, I mentioned that I had an aunt that always made me rum balls for Christmas. I told her that it was the presence of those rum balls that told me that Christmas was here and that I was loved. She remembered that, and every year, for the past several years, she has made me rum-less rum balls and delivered them to me. Of course, I forget from year to year and never expect them. Yesterday, she was packing for a two-family, two-car trip to a conference in Nairobi, Kenya. In the midst of all of that preparation and having about sixteen people in her house at the time, she made me the rum balls that were on that empty plate. She took the time, in the midst of all her packing and preparing, to bring them to me. It was just a moment, a little thing, but it made me feel special, loved, and brought back memories of the Christmases of my childhood. Samantha has five children with the youngest one just two years old, and she has a house full of visitors for Christmas, but she took the time to make rum balls for me and to squeeze in a trip to our house to deliver them before they left for Kenya. Right now, that two-car caravan is about halfway to Nairobi, and I’m quite sure she is not thinking about the small gift she delivered to me yesterday, but it is those small gifts, those little things, those moments that give life its flavor, its joy, its thrill, and its memories that last a lifetime. There is no act of kindness so small that it is ever unnoticed or unappreciated. Our life is made up of moments and in the frenetic pace of today’s daily life, we frequently forget that it is the little things, those moments that cement our joy and hold the worth of our lives together. Samantha is an Australian, Anglican missionary we have known for several years and is one of the best mothers I have ever known. If you add up all the time we have spent together, even though we only live a couple of blocks away, it wouldn’t add up to more than a single day or two, but it isn’t about the time, just like it isn’t about what you look at, it’s about what you see. I may look at an empty plate, but what I see is love personified and a gift beyond worth. Yes, I have already eaten them all (I did give one to Karen), but the image of that empty plate will stay in my heart forever. We simply have no idea of the gigantic importance of tiny moments. The story of Christ is full of things like that. When Mary said, “Let it be with me according to Thy word,” it was a short sentence, but it was one of the most powerful messages of the Bible. Christ touching a leper, a blind beggar throwing off his cloak to rush to Jesus, the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept,” these are the big things, the moments that changed the world, my heart, Samantha’s heart, and so many others. What a gift you can give with just a moment of your time, what lives you can change with just one little thing. As my acting teacher used to tell me, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Touch someone today with a little thing, a moment of love that will live forever. It is what makes life worth the living.