“Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
This morning I woke up to wetness on my right elbow. I sniffed. Decided it wasn’t poop or vomit, and rolled over. Spit-up doesn’t phase me like it used to. My seven-month-old-son and I had fallen asleep on the couch after he woke up crying and running a fever.
I get up, wipe off my elbow.
I change him.
I let the dog out.
I toss the towel in the laundry under the sink.
I set out some meat for supper.
I look at my gratitude-notebook and wonder if I should try to find gratitude in the spit-up. But sometimes it’s just spit-up.
In that unromantic day-to-day moment I got to thinking of my recent trip to a conference. While my hubby was home manning the spit-up (God bless him), I learned about this guru, someone who had made a huge difference in her field, she inspired and helped a tribe of people who each inspired and helped their own tribe of people. I heard again and again of the broad sweep of her humility, always helping others in real ways. She came up so often I started to wonder, who is this lady? So. . . awesome-sauce. . . I ended up talking to her. Feeling a little bold because of #gratitudeparty, I flat out asked her how she did it, how she lived a life that made such big ripples.
Before she said anything, she apologized for the simplicity of her answer.
“Well, I don’t have a big philosophy,” she said. “I just listen to people, find a way to connect, and try to bring them into my world.”
I love the image of this woman’s humble approach, small ripples here, small ripples there, stacking up, making a difference for just one person. . . and then another. . . and then another.
A simple smile, responding with kindness when the situation begs for anger and hurt, choosing to be space for a hard feeling, all of it matters, and all of it ripples. So, if you find yourself with spit-up on your elbow today, remember your gratitude ripples. One of the teachers who rippled on me, told me once to “Just be a light house. You don’t see them running around trying to change the world.” They just live in their normal life, do their normal good thing, do simple good, all the while making some waves.
Day 22 Challenge:
- Choice 1: LISTEN to the people in your life today, slow down and really hear them. Sneakily help someone without them knowing it. (I write this with tented fingers, loving the idea of us all being sneaky ripple-makers. Muahaha.)
- Choice 2: WRITE a letter thanking a teacher in your life who made a large impact.