Why Little Matters

At first glance the heading “Why Little Matters” might seem to be a pessimistic statement. That’s certainly not how I mean it. Let’s shift up the emphasis and look at it again. Why little MATTERS. Yeah, the little things in life. They matter and can do more to change the course of someone’s day than perhaps you’re aware. I know I’ve had days like that. Sometimes a smile is all it takes for me to keep trudging on in the face of adversity.

Growing up I hated making my bed every morning. Not making my bed wasn’t an option. It had to be done before I ventured off to school or slipped outside to play or hunkered down to read a book. Making my bed was non-negotiable. So, of course, when I became an adult not making my bed was my rebellion. I wouldn’t make it. I didn’t have to make it. It was NOT going to happen. After all, I was just going to mess it up again, right? I should be ashamed to admit it, but I spent a lot of happy years not making my bed.

Then something happened. I’m not quite sure what it was. Perhaps I moved forward into real adulthood. Or I just got tired of fixing my bed at night before I got in. It’s possible that a good case of laziness settled in and I realized it was easier to make it before I was dead tired instead of after. Who knows? And it doesn’t really matter, anyway. But the funniest thing happened at approximately the same time.

I had this realization. One of those aha moments. Making my bed in the morning meant I’d accomplished something. Now some days, even still, that’s about as much as I feel I’ve accomplished. My to do list of projects and errands can grow instead of shrink, overwhelming me to the point where I wonder if I’m ever going to unbury myself. Then I remember – I have accomplished something. I’ve made the bed. This tiny little nugget of information turns my upside down day right again and even offers motivation to get something else done.

Have you ever wondered what one little kindness does to a stranger? I think it’s entirely possible the effect is the same as me making my bed. Holding the door open at a store, while offering a smile just might be the thing that takes a bad day and swivels it around. Someone cares. The world does have good people in it. I’ve watched as my teenage son holds the door open at the post office. A stream of people going in and he’s there steadily holding the door for each and every person. I can’t count the number of times I’ve ‘lost’ him in a store. Turning and searching for him, I find him making someone’s day, keeping the door open. A genuine smile stretched across his face.

How many people’s lives has he impacted with this one little kindness? I’ll never know. But I do know – little kindnesses matter. Remember that the next time you see someone who needs a hand. Or a smile. It matters.

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