Small Acts of Love
Rector Chris Girata's latest article in the Katy Trail Weekly
Recently, a friend of mine, I’ll call her Rachel, was at home preparing for lunch when she heard a knock at her door. When she opened the door, she was greeted by two young teens. They introduced themselves as siblings, a brother and sister team, and smiled warmly. They said, “We don’t live in the neighborhood, but we wanted to come visit everyone on your street. There have been so many bad things happening recently and we want to remind you that we should not be afraid, that there is still a lot of good in the world.” Then they asked a simple question, “Can we read a passage from the Bible with you?”
Rachel was stunned by their clarity and confidence. She was also struck by their humility. She quickly agreed, and the young people began to read a passage from the 12th chapter of Romans. This passage reminds us not to live as the world lives, but to be renewed in body and mind to know that God is at work through us. After they finished, they said, “God bless you” and left to knock on the next door.
This encounter was so simple, so generous, that Rachel felt like she had received a special gift. Indeed, with all the bad things happening in the world, and with the media constantly reminding us of what should be scary, these two young people had done what is perhaps our highest calling: they have loved their neighbor.
It’s easy for us to think that the problems of the world are so significant that we need to try and solve them all. Most of us are accomplished and able people who seek to be as effective as possible. If people in our community are homeless or hungry, we think we should solve the problem of poverty, rather than simply feeding one person or helping lift one person up. If we aren’t careful, these painful realities can become problems to solve, instead of people to love.
I’m fond of encouraging people to do small things, to celebrate small acts of kindness. When we do small things with big love, our impact ripples well beyond ourselves. Sometimes these small acts feel ineffective or insufficient, but, as my grandmother used to say, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
The two young people who walked from door to door through Rachel’s neighborhood did not cure the problem of violence or solve poverty. But in that moment, they changed Rachel for the good. And because of their gift, you are reading their story. Perhaps their small act of love will cause a ripple that changes you, too.
As much of the world begins to swing back into a new school year, perhaps this is an opportunity to start fresh with new habits. When you see something scary, respond with hope. When you witness someone being hurt, respond with love. And when the people around you feel lost, remember that “there is still a lot of good in the world,” so be part of the good you hope for.
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