Sometimes I’m more tuned into the universe or God-incidence than others. Almost always, it is never about the big things, It is about the little things. But that is okay. After all, Mother Teresa reminded us:
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Normally I stop daily at the Wiki-Wiki for my tea and crackers on my way to work. I do this so that I don’t have to carry the extra liquid weight on the bus or on my walk to work. Usually, my plan works out well. One day, though, I had an extra left over at the end of the work day. I thought about putting it in the office refrigerator for the next day but instead popped it in my backpack. This instinctive action did not make logical sense, yet I didn’t remove it. So, off to the bus stop I went carrying extra liquid weight. At the bus stop was a person who needed a drink, and I had one to offer.
Another time, a few weeks later, I tucked one of those foldable bags into my bag….just in case. Just in case of what? I assumed the just in case was in case I needed to stop at the store and pick up a few things. However, as I approached the bus stop that afternoon, I noticed a guy with lots of papers in his hands. His rubber band had broken. We had some strong winds that day, and every time he tried to gather his papers and organize them, some of them would get away from him. I really liked this foldable bag, but it seemed he needed it more than me. Somewhere there is a guy with a bright red and white polka dot bag full of his papers.
In my office, I keep my work heels. At home, I have my comfortable shoes and small-heeled pumps. Today, I decided to wear the pumps…but thinking I may walk home, I threw some slippers (flip flops) into my bag. I ended up working late, so I didn’t walk home. Instead, I headed to the bus stop. Sitting there was a large man with one slipper on one foot, and one small bright pink clog on the other foot. I was tired, so I didn’t think about it for a few minutes, but eventually I looked down at my slippers. I looked at my feet and at his and thought, ‘yep, those are a fit.”
He wasn’t communicative. He kept his eyes closed most of the time and made noises and gestures to that indicated a headache or other pain. He had hospital bracelets on his wrist, and ace bandages on his swollen legs.
I hesitated. I couldn’t figure out how to talk with him to ask him if he wanted my slippers. I always ask if the person wants help (the drink, the bag, etc.) because I never want to assume I know what they need better than they do. I watched. I looked. I wondered. I tried to make eye contact. There was none. I tried to talk with him. There was no conversation. So after sitting there for a few minutes, I removed my gray leather pumps from my bag and put them on my feet. I held the flip flops in my hand and waited. I waited for him to look at me or talk with me. Nothing. The minutes ticked on, and I saw my bus a few blocks down the street.
I took a breath, walked over to this mountain of a man, and put the slippers in front of him. I walked back over to my bench and waited for the bus. Slowly the man realized there were new slippers in front of him. He looked at them for a few seconds, and then slowly removed his foot from the small pink clog and placed it in the new, just right fitting flip flop. After checking it out for a second or two, he raised his head and looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and headed to my bus.
So, why am I sharing these stories? I’m sharing them to say be aware of everyday opportunities. I don’t head out in the morning thinking, what can I take to help someone today? In fact, if you know me, you know I don’t think much of anything first thing in the morning. In each listed case and many others, there wasn’t this great voice saying “take the flip flops.” Nope, just gentle ideas…wear the gray pumps today. Okay. Since they aren’t as comfortable on long walks as the loafers, take the flip flops. Okay. How many believe it wasn’t about the gray pumps at all? J
Are these little things life changing? No. But somewhere tonight, there is a guy wearing matching slippers and walking a little more comfortably. And for now, that is enough.