“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” Leo tolstoy
“Everybody’s got the seam of goodness in them, Kit,” said Grandpa. “Just a matter of whether it can be found and brought out into the light.” David Almond
I spend a lot of time talking about comparisons, jealousy and competition. The truth is just when I think I have discovered where it mostly originates, I find new areas of initiations. It is true that parents, grandparents and most people, compare constantly without thought. We hear about he tallest child, best athlete, intelligent or pretty girl, and more common discussions.I wonder why we can’t seem to control our measurements. It would be horrible if we went to work everyday and listened to others talk about the best worker, smartest computer programmer, or other items we might consider. If neighbors commented on the lawns, houses, apartments or anything else that perhaps is measurable, we would avoid encounters with such individuals.
Today I had another encounter with such an incident of judgement, and it really hurt me to the core, because I am sure it resonated negatively with a lot of people. Someone was mentioning a young person in the news, who had done great things, but then died at a very early age. Dying at an early age is terrible for anyone to have to deal with. Without a doubt we would all agree with that statement.
All of the praise was deserving for this individual, and I agreed wholeheartedly with the discussion. Then came the crucial point of contention for me. The person doing all of the praise, began stating that although the woman was young, she had likely done more in her life, than a person of eighty or ninety. Her accomplishments were tremendous and her recognition was renown. On that I would agree, but it wasn’t necessary to compare her life, with any other life. Compliments without comparisons is vitally significant.
At that moment I wanted to yell stop, but the person was on a platform, delivering a speech and the option of offering opinions to the discussion was nil. I sat there quietly and began reminiscing about my grandmother as well as other people who had already passed from my life at a very old age. Of course they were not known by many, and had not captured the eye of the general public. Somehow the pain of that speech bothered me enough to write this post on the incident.
My grandmother would be considered illiterate by today’s standards. She was loved by the entire family, and was without a doubt missed by all of us. Her grandchildren numbered twenty one and her great grandchildren numbered significantly more. When anyone loses someone they love, age may not be considered. They are all missed. Most of us are left with the loss felt within our hearts.
My grandmother had the knack of making every one of her grandchildren feel important. When in her presence, you felt loved and cared for. Her great accomplishments regarding love, were many. Whenever anyone in the family came over to visit, she would take charge of the kids, allow the mother some free time to engage in conversations with others, and rock the baby or children until they fell asleep.
She was one of those amazing people who could ignore the screaming child, and smile at you when you went to check if everything was okay. I remember her specifically telling me the baby was fine, and to just go back and enjoy myself. Her calm manner led one to understand, she would have the patience and love to deal with the situation. She loved every grandchild and every one of them was aware of it. Another thing she did was the dishes and pots in the sink. You could not tear her aware from doing dishes. None of us realized that she had done this for each and ever one of us, numerous times, perhaps too many to count.
We all felt so special that we believed she loved us so much that she would do anything for us. We were all correct in our thinking. Her influence over all of us was immeasurable. Her love transcended years and time and space, yet she never perhaps received the eulogy she deserved. We were all present at her wake, and I am not saying she wasn’t appreciated, but we didn’t feel we should send out news flashes about her wonderful, meaningful life. She raised kids, cooked cleaned and made the lives of anyone she met, as comfortable and easy as she could.
Where I am going with this, is to the point that so many ordinary lives are actually extraordinary. Their lives perhaps go unnoticed, but God and the ones who love them are conscious of the gift. Their contributions probably also appear diminished, when compared to those individuals who make the news.
I do not want to appear comparative as the person who I am writing about. There are many people who deserve praise and eulogies perhaps even before they die. Those who are in the limelight certainly deserve the honor for their great works. We just can’t forget those who are in the shadows, but also do great work, which is seen only by a few.
A life spent in compassion and care of others, be it for family, friends or strangers, is a worthwhile life. Maybe their life will never be expounded on the front page of newspapers, but they have front row seats in many hearts. Many ordinary people are perhaps just as deserving of recognition, that likely they won’t receive, and really don’t look to receive. They are content to do what they can, when we can, and without any mention or credit to their names. I know God sees more than us and it is not going unnoticed.
Definitely it is time to reflect on that ripple effect. What any inconsequential act, any of us do, has astounding repercussions of all kinds. Compassion and empathy travel endlessly beyond, reaching into the future of our kids, and grand-kids. Perhaps we might never see the ripples of our good deeds which possibly impacts strangers. Recognizing this fact, should make us more cognizant of the significance of our lives. No life is inconsequential.
I know the speaker was not trying to say other people’s lives were not important. Although it did appear, that he assumed, the simple quiet long lives, might have less meaning. A life is a life. Live with compassion for others, and with care regarding our words and actions. Be quick to forgive and let patience and tolerance flourish. Your life is without a doubt meaningful and extraordinary.
Never underestimate your worth or the work that you do. We influence people every day, including strangers. We all think act and observe others. Easing anyone’s pain, is God-like. Bringing comfort and love to others, allows them to become the people they were meant to become. Think about a match that has the ability to light the campfire. That campfire creates warmth and light, as well as nourishment through the food we are able to cook over it. If we misuse the match, we likely create a forest fire of some size, be it large or small. People are influenced by good and evil actions and words. By providing kindness and love, we light the campfire, which triggers inspirations.
What we do in our lives is woven throughout the fabric of many lives. Family members and strangers are affected. Taking our lives more seriously is crucial. We can’t ever doubt our own life, or ability to change the world for the better is an impossible undertaking. We are not powerless to make a difference. Simply living a life filled with love and empathy for all, will make a difference. The transformation will be beyond measure, and beyond years. Live your ordinary life with passion because it really is extraordinary in so many ways.
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that they’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” Mahatma Gandhi
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare