The Habit of Small Kindness

by Peter DeWit
(Peter is the volunteer programs and events director of Serve the City Paris. As a unique and dynamic community, Serve the City International is excited to share the independent experiences and viewpoints of various people throughout our movement, like Peter. We hope you enjoy this article!) 
Our world needs miracles, big ones! But the big ones won’t likely save the world without the groundswell of all the tiny unseen miracles. I am talking about the seemingly insignificant and unseen compassionate acts done by people like you and I. There are voices, cynical despair-inducing voices that tell us what we do to show kindness and love makes little difference. They tell us disaster is inevitable. Evil will win. Its too late! Apocalypse now.
Don’t believe it for a minute.
Our universe is not about to burn up anytime soon. Mother Nature, too, has more creative generating powers than our limited minds and narratives can conceive. And you may not see how going the extra mile to help a neighbour fix his water-pump, or visiting a friend in the hospital with flowers and a word of encouragement, or calling an ailing parent to let them know you remember and love them, can be seen as miracles. But these acts, I see as just as important as creating an app that measures our carbon footprint, or writing a book on some hot topic, a book that may or may not sell. In my estimate giving a sandwich to a single needy man prepares you to give a speech to an audience of many. You see it’s the heart of the small acts of love that will make a difference. If we can get into the habit of doing the small acts when they are called for, then and only then will we be ready for the bigger and more public displays of action.
I used to think that bigger was better. At times I did the big things, while neglecting the more important smaller things. I loved the crowds, and the fans, and enjoyed the adulation, while sometimes not hearing the small voice beside me from below saying, “Let’s go outside Daddy, can we go and play ball?” I didn’t always have the eyes to see it, ego got in the way, and sometimes I still get sucked into the belief that my significance depends on the big deeds I am accomplishing. Today I remind myself, as I was taught, that God sees everything. Even a cup of cold water given in the spirit of love is noted by heaven. And when that becomes my natural habit, I’m ready to apply that love in all I do.
Yes, the world does need miracles, big ones even. However, the big ones just won’t happen until we change our mindset about the small seemingly impractical acts of kindness that bring healing and love. Once we start making that our habit, our world will become the life-giving planet it was meant and is still destined to be.
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