History is filled with great people doing great things. Think of Winston Churchill uniting and guiding Great Britain through the calamitous times of World War II, or Dr. Jonas Salk innovating the polio vaccine and wiping out a heinous disease, and Martin Luther King, Jr. galvanizing the civil rights movement to bring racial equality to reality. It is impossible to ignore the titans of industry who changed the shape of the world, from Henry Ford who put America on wheels to Bill Gates who made the personal computer possible for all. Even the much-maligned Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook, which brought people together in a unique way.
These are all big things that brought change on a massive scale. It can be overwhelming to The Little Guy out here in the hinterland, toiling away in obscurity, just trying to get by.
In our latest crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen those in power trying to be writ large in history by taking bold actions. Lawmakers scramble to give away unthinkable sums of money to those in need, companies ramp up their industrial might to crank out products needed to fight the viral battle, and even the lowly grocery store becomes the hero in a big way, keeping the food chain intact (except maybe for toilet paper). Add in the frontline doctors and nurses and medical teams fighting to save lives and it can leave a person feeling small and insignificant!
But take heart, because it’s the Little Things That Matter.
I was talking with my friend Steve about coming over for a visit, as we share a love of audio and music, plus he has hundreds of my CDs in his possession that he was ripping to a hard drive for me. I knew that he and his wife, Terri, had taken this disease seriously, so we decided he could drop by as long as we took care to practice physical distancing. He mentioned that Terri had made 350 face masks and given them away – she’s a quilter, so the effort was a natural extension of her hobby and passion. Being immunocompromised herself, she understood the need to help protect others, so she got busy sewing masks. A little thing, but a Little Thing That Matters, and Steve is bringing a couple of her masks for my wife and me to put to use.
We were surprised to find a nice gift bag on our porch a couple weeks ago. It contained a Mason jar of homemade vegetable soup, another of homemade salsa, plus my wife’s favorite treat of white chocolate pretzels. And a roll of the sought-after toilet paper! It turns out her good friend Veronica has been out dropping off care packages to her friends, and this week we got a repeat performance when she dropped off a bottle of Diana’s favorite wine, Meiomi Pinot Noir. No little thing there, but Little Things That Matter.
Many children depend on school lunches as a part of their nutritional needs. With schools closed, that vital need was put in danger of not being met. But since the food was already part of the school budget, and workers available to prepare it, an entire mini industry swung into motion. My friend Carey, among many others, coordinated the production and distribution of bag lunches so no child would go hungry. Another friend, a bus driver named Phyllis, was one of many who took to the roads in the familiar yellow busses to drop off lunches at what would have been the normal bus stops. As a whole, maybe this is not a little thing, but a big thing made possible by individuals doing the Little Things that Matter.
Since I was in a considerable risk group, self-quarantining was my best option, which left me few options to help. So, I decided to use the power of the pen (okay, keyboard) to do a few little things. Knowing that many people, accustomed to eating out, were now stuck with kitchen duty, I parlayed my own love for food and cooking into Kenny’s Quick and EZ Meals. Nearly every night I photo-documented simple, but delicious (and quick and easy!) meals that most anyone could make with ingredients on hand. From the response I think I hit a chord. I also hammered away at the keys to produce a weekly blog, like this one, to hopefully encourage, uplift, and touch the hearts of a few people. Again, I was rewarded with affirming feedback from thoughtful friends about how my writing impacted their lives. These are both little things, taking an hour or so to complete, but they are Little Things that Matter.
No surprise here, but Jesus said it best:
“Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Matthew 10:42, The Message
And there is always one more way we can all do little things that matter. Most of us in America are blessed with plenty. The needs are so great, taken on a large scale, that they can be overwhelming. Fortunately, through online giving using PayPal and Facebook, or GoFundMe, anyone can help support food banks, afflicted families, medical needs. There was a time in this country when we didn’t expect the Federal Government to meet needs, but we did it as a community, adding little things to little things to make big things. There are not many of us that can’t contribute a few bucks, just a little cash that will bless someone else and become a Little Thing that Matters. I am reminded of this story:
“Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, ‘The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!’” Luke 21:1-4
At the end of the day, it’s the little things that we do that impact lives, help people through their daily struggles, provide hope and change the world. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to do just that. Change the world, provide hope, offer help, impact lives. By doing the little things. The Little Things that Matter.
I will leave you with the words of an unlikely prophet of hope:
“No, I can’t stop the war
Shelter homeless, feed the poor
I can’t walk on water
I can’t save your sons and daughters
Well, I can’t change the world and make things fair
The least that I can do is care.” Kid Rock, Care, 2010/Warner Brothers