When it comes down to it, there are two kinds of people: those who go over the top and those who think a few comforting words or a small gesture can be sufficient. I fall into the second category. I believe the small things matter.
I have always been very close with my sister. I feel lame saying this, but I was blessed with a sister who is also my best friend. You can imagine how devastated I was when she left for college. Not even two days had gone by when my sister’s boyfriend and I started to reminisce on all the good times we had shared with Jessica. That is, until our friend Amy made the observation, “Gosh, it’s like Jessica died or something.” We stopped immediately. A little embarrassed about being caught in such a sappy moment, Santi and I then began to list the things we would not miss about Jessica.
“She can be really nasty.”
“She always eats those nasty tuna sandwiches!”
“And she can be so unbelievably OCD at times.”
My eyes started watering, not from missing my sister but rather, from all the laughter. That one little list helped me face Jessica’s empty room later that day. It helped me feel less lonely as I sat in our television room by myself.
I believe that seemingly insignificant conversations matter.
“Just go home Melissa.” I was stunned I thought it was a joke at first, but no, my coach had just kicked me out of practice because he felt that I was not swimming fast enough. Both fury and grief seized me. When my mom came to pick me up fifteen minutes later, hot tears were still streaming down my face as if I was a human fountain. Mom took one look at me and announced that we were going to Waffle House.
Whenever the memory of that day comes floating back, I do not think bitterly of the harsh words my coach spat at me. However, I will always remember the way my mom consoled me. That simple act of taking me to breakfast to a restaurant, one that should probably be closed down due to their numerous health violations, helped me so much.
I believe that small acts of generosity matter.
Experiences like these help shape my belief that all those insignificant events and deeds can affect others in a huge way. With this in mind, I try to always think through my actions. I try to help my friends by doing any trivial, little thing that I can. And I try to show my appreciation for those around me with a few words of thanks. Because it’s true, every little thing matters.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.