This isn’t the post that I was planning to write for today, but it’s just something that I felt I needed to write. So bear with me- it isn’t a typical post for me. But I wanted to express how sometimes we don’t need the big and glamorous, but we can find more comfort in the little things.
My grandma lost both of her sisters this year. These women (my great aunts) were amazing women. The one, my great aunt Emma Jean, was an amazing cake decorator and baker. She made the cake for our wedding, and it was so beautiful. She sewed and quilted. In general, she was extraordinarily talented.
My second great aunt passed away last week. Ella was a fabulous artist- her paintings were so beautiful. Ella loved history and wrote two books. She was an avid gardener, and Dan and I actually picked the apples and pears that adorned our wedding cake from Ella’s trees. So that’s kind of cool that both of my great aunts were involved in our wedding cake.
As I went to each of their funerals, I was reminded of how tradition and the “little things” can be so comforting in times of grief and trial.
There is an amazing amount of comfort found in the things we know. I think that when we are going through a grieving time, being surrounded by things that are so well-known can comfort the soul.
Sitting in the pews of the church where I spent every Sunday of my young childhood. Repeating the same liturgy that I grew up with. Watching my kids running back and forth across the gym that my sister and I ran across so many times. Seeing my son’s eyes light up as he looked with awe at the sunlight shining through the stained glass windows, and remembering the feeling of running my fingers over the smooth glass that was embedded in rough mortar. Seeing the faces of women (and men, but this is about a particular group of women) who ministered to the congregation when I was a child and who are still impacting lives today.
I was especially blessed by those amazing women who have been giving selflessly for decades. These women give of their time every time there is a funeral or other major event. They spend hours cooking food for the family dinner, and then spend more time serving the family and cleaning up afterward.
These were the same women who provided (and I’m sure they do to this day) cookies for fellowship time every Sunday. While their ministry may not be one for which a lot of praise is given, those cookies and that glass of juice placed in little hands each Sunday of my childhood left a lasting impression. And that snack made it possible for our parents to spend time fellowshipping with one another, instead of having to rush home to get us fed. So that small act ministered to both us children and our parents.
I think sometimes we think an act of ministry has to be so big; so thought out; so orchestrated. We need to poll people to see what will be beneficial to the greatest number of people. We need to form committees to determine the areas lacking and the needs and the desires of the people. We need to get the biggest bang for our buck.
And I do think that planning is important. However, I think that we sometimes overlook how comforting the little things can be, in our pursuit of the big things. We can focus so much on drawing people into our churches, instead of focusing on how to minister to the people who are already there.
The little things may be the things God is calling you to do.
A hug and a shared tear for those left behind that are struggling with their overwhelming grief. A shared story of the person we’ve lost. A meal taken to a family who feels so overwhelmed that the thought of cooking and feeding themselves hasn’t even crossed their mind. Taking the older children for a few hours from a couple who has just miscarried, so the parents can let down their guard and truly grieve.
I challenge you to look around you and find one person in your life that you can bless today. Even if that blessing is as simple as sending a short note in the mail telling them you’re praying for them- I think you’d be surprised at how uplifting that might be. And I challenge you to thank the people who are taking care of the “little things” in your life– it’s a hard and thankless job, but it seems to me to fulfill so much of what Christ taught about how we are to truly serve others.
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