“do small things with great love”

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I wear this bracelet pretty much every day. My mom, who is one of the most loving and compassionate people I know, appropriately gave me this bracelet earlier this year. The encouragement, meaning, and motivation that these six little words have enriched my life with is tremendous. During a time when injustice, pain, violence, and anger seem to be flooding our world and the complexity of these issues deeply tangled, I cannot think of a more appropriate response than to do small things with great love.

If my college education has taught me anything, it is that there are many, lots, I mean tons, of issues in our world today. And these aren’t little issues. They are culturally, politically, socially, spiritually, and economically complicated.  These issues are very big, very troubling, and very overwhelming. Recognizing the challenges people in our world are facing is a crucial first step, but I think at times becoming aware of these situations can leave us stunned- Where do we even begin? How could I possibly make a difference?- The magnitude of these issues can be overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. Sometimes the necessary response to extremely complicated questions can be found in the simplest of phrases.

“Do small things with great love.” 

Mother Teresa packed a enormous wisdom into this little phrase. While this phrase may seem simple, I’ve learned a great deal from it.

DO: the accomplishment of an action. If we want to make a difference and impact in the world, there must be some element of response, an action. We cannot stay stagnant or paralyzed or silent. The first step to making a difference is to carry out an action. 

SMALL: not large or big-limited in size. Start small. Our action doesn’t need to be grandiose or extravagant to make a difference.

THINGS: that which is done, has been done, or is to be done; happening, act, deed, incident, event, etc. There is no specific action(s) that is required or necessary to make a difference. Our responses can be beautifully creative, innovative, personal, or unique. 

WITH: accompanied by, coming at the same time as, going along in the same direction, related or in proportion to. Our actions and responses are a valuable step, but the manner in which we respond is important too. How we respond matters, so as we act we can be mindful of the way our are impacting those around us. 

GREAT LOVE: above the ordinary quality of affection and devotion to others; out of compassion, with no thought of reward. Don’t hold back in the care you show those around you. There is so much goodness to be shared with one another. As we respond, we have an amazing opportunity to show love and kindness in our actions.

I wear this bracelet as a reminder. It is a reminder that I have the opportunity to respond. It is a reminder that, even in the small things, I can make a difference. It is a reminder to serve who I’m with, where I am, with what I have. It is a reminder of the GREAT LOVE that is in this world and the extraordinary opportunity I have every day to share that with others.

-Hannah 

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