The Small Things That Get Us Through

The last four months of last year I was working two part-time jobs.  Added up to about fifty or sixty hours a week.  They were physically demanding, on my feet for much of it.  A lot of lifting and carrying involved.  The exhaustion was formidable.  After all, I’m not a spring chicken, as my dad used to say.  There were days when simply getting out of bed seemed like a major accomplishment.

One of the jobs, in particular, was the sort of position that  can make a person feel invisible and maybe even small.  There are a few jobs out there like that.  I’ve had a few of them over the years.

There are advantages to that invisibility.  Being disappeared allowed me to observe with unabashed curiosity and clarity.  I watched all sorts of interactions between people that I filed away for future inclusion in a short story or a scene in a novel.

Most of the time I didn’t mind not being noticed.  I was doing my job, which, if I didn’t would be noticed and create some big problems.  Maybe that’s the way most jobs are.

Occasionally, a tough day would rear its ugly head and getting through the first job of the day was discouraging and weightier than normal.  Moods can do that to me.  On just such a day, nearing the holidays, I was the recipient of a gift.

I’m sure that the gift giver didn’t realize how significant her gift was.  I’m sure she didn’t even consider it a gift.  She’d be shocked if she knew I thought of that gift a year later, that I still have the package the gift came in.

Here’s what it looked like:

Yes, she offered me a cup of hot chocolate in this very cup, which I’ve kept.

Suddenly I wasn’t a disappeared person.  I was me, a fellow human being, like her, just trying to get through the day.  The invisibility cloak slipped off my head and fell to the floor around me.  I felt cared about.

Somewhere in the universe, some cog clicked into place that settled some ache in my heart that day.  I felt lighter.  I felt lifted.  I felt love.

Her gift to me was more than hot chocolate.  It was acknowledgment, personhood, a hand of kindness, recognition, friendliness, caring.

Reminds me of this quote:

I can do no great things, only small things with great love.“
– Mother Teresa

Here’s wishing  you a month filled with small things, received and given.

Have you had anything like this happen to you?  What was the gift?  How did it help you? I’d love to hear about it.

Categories: Gratitude, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “The Small Things That Get Us Through

  1. This is good to know. Do you mind if I repost this next week on my blog to encourage my December challenge?


  2. jolynproject

    Oh I love this story! It really shows that a small act of kindness rooted in love is the greatest gift to give this season no matter how small it appears. Thanks for sharing this and for linking my article. I really appreciate it! 🙂


  3. Mama Jo

    Kami, as I read this blog, I got tears in my eyes because sometimes it is just some little seemingly insignificent gesture that touches your heart!! I can’t think of anything right now but I know I have had those moments that made me feel loved and important because of someone else’s caring act or word!! Keep on writing. We wait and watch for you blogs each day. I guess
    you could say that some of them lift me up even thought they are all wonderful!!


    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts. On days I feel like it won’t matter if I don’t post, I think about you two and I push forward!


  4. Leanne

    I posted about it on Facebook, but all in the same day, while grocery shopping at one store I had a stranger pat me on the back and say, “You’re doing a great job, Mom.” (I had my daughter in the cart with me). At the next store (Fry’s), an employee put a bouquet of pink roses in my cart, and said they were just for me, no charge. I love awesome people. 🙂


    • I loved that fb post!! So cool!! You ARE a good mom and those people were fabulous (I mean that in the best way, not the slipping on the floor and falling way).


  5. Kathy

    Your blog immediately brought to mind this quote from Godon B. Hinckley “Though my work may be menial, Though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others….The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.”
    I love that you kept the cup for a reminder, thanks for sharing!


    • That’s a great quote! The world is a good place thanks to so many small acts of goodness!
      I actually kept the cup out as a sort of Christmas decoration last year. My family thought I was a little nuts. But they think that anyway!


  6. LIz Raabe Barrett

    Great post at the outset of the holidays…I had to attend a meeting once a couple of years ago and sat down by myself. My friend Shauri, who was sitting a few rows in front of me, turned, saw me, and said enthusiastically, “Come sit with me.” It was such a small gesture but it meant so much to be noticed and it helped me not feel “invisible.”


    • Glad to hear that goodwill shines out in many different ways. We all need that smile, invitation, handshake, hug, gesture of some kind once in a while. Thanks for sharing that!


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