“Oh! I had forgotten.”
But I hadn’t. I had been speaking to my friend Renee about an incident from three years ago, when she and our friends had taken it upon themselves to cure my gloom with retail therapy. They had then proceeded to buy me a lovely lavender hand cream from The Body Shop, but she had forgotten all about the incident. I hadn’t. I hadn’t, because their unsought-for kindness had truly touched me.
On the flip side, I have had friends tell me the letters I wrote have literally brought them to tears, but unfortunately I could never remember which words exactly I had used to evoke such a response.
The point (despite my bad memory) is this: the ripples of the good deeds we do today go far beyond what we can imagine. We have all seen this quote:
“One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.”
I’m willing to bet more than one of us has dismissed it both for its trite familiarity and long-term fruition.
But what if we could make a real difference today in the lives of those around us?
It’s not hard, but it does require intentionality and effort.
My Omani “sister” Manar once told me that, in Islam, to smile at someone is an act of charity. Though a bizarre notion at first, it make sense upon closer inspection, because how many of our black moods have been lifted because of someone else’s benevolent cheer? How many bad mornings have been turned around by a bright smile? And yet—how many of us remember to stretch those creaky face muscles? As Proverbs 15:30 notes, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.”
As leaders, it can be easy to fall into a destructive, “Martha” cycle of thinking, where all we have before us are callous to-do lists; we keep running but stay glued in place, and nothing ever changes. Our long-term visions always plan for lofty goals for “tomorrow,” that elusive tomorrow which always looms just over the horizon.
Much as it harms my Type-A soul to admit it, however, sometimes a little bit of the “Mary,” live-in-the-moment spontaneity can be useful, as we reach out to connect with those around us in love and fellowship. When we think in bottom lines, sometimes we can forget the difference we can affect in the here and now just by being ourselves and loving one another.
Admittedly, sometimes living in the now can be difficult because it still appears that people don’t appreciate our efforts to spread joy and positivity around us.
But consider rainfall in the desert—although on the surface no change appears to have been affected, somewhere deep in the parched earth another dormant seed returns to life. In today’s modern world, there are so many ways to “connect”—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, mass e-mail, group texting … the list goes on and on.
And yet, with this connection inundation, how many of us end up feeling more alone than ever before?
How many human hearts among us lay dormant, starved of real love and affection?
From my 22-year-old, Millennial generation pulpit, let me reiterate—it’s the little things that matter. A handwritten note, a short five-minute call, the extra effort to connect for that coffee date with a friend. Bottom lines and end-of-the-year fiscal goals (and the number of your Twitter followers?) matter, yes. But, as noted, Jesus never had to resort to mass marketing and graph charts to make a difference in the lives of those around Him, and we don’t, either.
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is an ensign (officer) in the United States Navy, currently stationed out of San Diego, CA. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling, perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.