How often do we take for granted the simple things?
Clean water, flowers in a vase, shelter over our heads.
When we take the time to slow down, breathe, and notice, sometimes life becomes so much richer.
Sometimes an act of service to another can be a simple thing. It might take the form of helping another person with their shopping. It might be paying for the groceries of someone who finds they are caught with no cash on their card. It might be inviting someone in for a cup of tea or providing a meal to someone who is struggling. It might simply be a phone call (not a Facebook message, or a text, but a real life phone call) to check if someone is okay… and meaning it.
The digital complexities of our current generation are vast. While there is certainly a place for technological advances and innovations, there is still something meaningful and lasting about simple face-to-face contact or genuine compassion and empathy for another human being. There are some things that social media cannot replace.
Just think about how much mail you now receive in your letter box compared with fifteen years ago, or even ten years ago. For me, my mailbox now mainly consists of real estate flyers and bills. Yet, if you receive a personal hand-written card or letter… this is a rarity indeed and becomes more meaningful than anything else you pull out of the box. If your students had to complete a class task stating the likelihood of such an event occurring – ‘unlikely’ or ‘extremely unlikely’ would probably be the most popular answer.
When I was a child, my mum always sent handwritten cards – she is someone who rarely forgets a birthday and is always organised enough to have the card ready to post off a week before the special day. She would also send cards if someone was ill, or grieving. She still does this now, and as such, does not seem to think what she does is anything significant. Yet, to the people who receive this seemingly simple gesture, it can, and does mean the world to them. Recently my father-in-law, who lived quite a distance from us, was battling with cancer. Unfortunately, he lost his fight not long ago. When we arrived for the funeral, his sister stated that the cards and letters my parents sent during his illness were the only ones he received during his struggle and that he was truly and deeply touched by them.
We must not forget the power of a simple thing, done in love. We must not forget to teach the next generation the value of these simple acts of kindness because they do matter and they will make a difference. In a world, where the statistics about youth suicide are alarming, it is up to each of us to make a difference. If there is anything that I wish to instil into the hearts and minds of not only my children, but also the students in my class, it is that we each have the chance to change someone’s life for the better. As followers of Jesus, we have been called to bring hope, light, and love wherever we tread. And this doesn’t have to take the form of something amazing and incredibly spectacular by the measure of the world, it can be a simple thing… helping someone in their home, sending flowers, taking someone out for coffee.
1 Peter 5:2 (TLB) Feed the flock of God; care for it willingly, not grudgingly; not for what you will get out of it but because you are eager to serve the Lord.
While some may view this passage in the light of Church leaders alone, we must not forget that we are all called into the priesthood of all believers and are therefore called to lead and serve in our own ways as a priest to those around us.
1 Peter 2:9 (TLB) But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
So the next time you think that you can’t make a difference, stop and think, and take a simple step of love to bring light to the life of another.