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Small Acts Can Light the World

All around us tiny acts of kindness are happening daily. You have done some of them. Big or small, they bring light to the world.

Sometimes, they change lives.

Despite the occasional thanks we receive, often we don’t know the long-term results of our actions.

Occasionally, when we’re lucky, someone will tell us about a difference we made in their life.

I was blessed to hear that from a friend and colleague with whom I worked at a university, twenty-plus years ago.

She sent me a message announcing her retirement after thirty-plus years at the university. She also told me how I had changed her life when, as a department chair, I hired her as a faculty member. The university was set to eliminate her position as a learning specialist, and she was a fabulous teacher. However, she was classified as an “administrator” making her difficult to hire into a faculty position. (Universities often keep a great divide between the two categories.) I hired her anyway.

I really can’t take credit for the foot-up into the stirrups that gave her.

There are times when a little voice knocks at your door—call it Spirit or intuition—and you know that you must act. When I do, it feels like something is coming through me rather than beingdone by me.

She went on to a successful career where she changed the lives of hundreds of students.

When we feel like we can’t change the world

The news keeps pouring in about seemingly intractable problems. We can vote (please do!), give money to global causes, or help in other ways, even without confidence that doing so will make a difference.

But the smallest acts of kindness to the people in our lives matter both to us and to the recipients. A friend is housing and caring for her elderly mother. Another is lovingly helping his wife deal with dementia. Others are making meals for sick friends, offering transport, or just showing up and listening. Some are planting trees. Others are supporting the homeless, refugee families. or voter registration. They may be offering a kind word, acknowledgment, encouragement, or empathy.

When I think of all of their acts, as well as so many I don’t know about, my heart starts to glow.

People are good.

And when my heart glows,\ brighter, the light around me is amplified.

The impact

We know the world faces huge challenges. But what if everyone committed to looking for more small acts of kindness they could do, or amplifying the good in what they are already doing?

What if I turned my gaze from “Ain’t it awful?” or “What can I do next?”

What if I spent more time appreciating the good and noticing the light on the planet. while not denying the suffering?

I would feel better, for sure.

Maybe all that light would also change the world.

I know that you do a lot—thank you.

Here’s one more thing: If you haven’t recently told someone about the difference they made in your life, do so soon.

I bet you both would shine a little brighter.

2 Responses

  1. yes yes yes!!

    If we don’t dare to share our light — if we’re too shy or too busy — the world will soon go dark. it is not our job to question if our light is good enough. it is our job to shine.

    Love you Sally. Love the light you bring.


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