Yes, You’re Small, But Small is Not Nothing

The weekend after I gave birth, a friend sent me a poem.

She’d written it months before, early in this pregnancy, on a day when I thought I might have started to miscarry. At that time, my pregnancy’s outcome was uncertain and her poem captured both my heartache and my hope.

For months, she saved the poem, waiting to see if my miracle baby would arrive. And then she sent me the page of words—one of the most beautiful gifts I could have received.

What made me tear up (beyond the beautiful language, and my post-baby hormones) was the idea that my friend wrote her poem, knowing I would possibly be the only one to read it. And even that was in question for her until I delivered.

She knew the piece may never have an audience, but she did a kind, creative thing anyway.

Too often, I hesitate to act on the kind or beautiful idea that comes to mind. My efforts seem insignificant or my reach too small—especially as a woman in a church where any problematic culture issues tend to feel monolithic. I sometimes tell myself the simple, good act that calls to me won’t make that big of a difference, so I let it keep calling without my response.

But my thoughtfulness does not require visibly far-reaching consequences to be valuable.

Not every kindness must be a Big Important Thing.

And the smallest, quietest kindnesses of all can be the most important. That poem meant so much to me.

Yes, Christ preached to crowds, but he ministered to the one. And I’m remembering, over and over again, that helping, loving, even writing a poem for the one is often where the most meaningful impact lies.

Image by Glen Carrie via Unsplash


Kathy is a writer living in Phoenix, AZ.

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4 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    I really like your point here, Kathy, that a good thing is worth doing even if it feels small.

  2. suzette says:

    Really well said! Loved this thought.

  3. Lori says:

    Thank you for this–it has spurred a couple of thoughts. One, as you say, is that a small thing might turn into a big thing, but that it has value even if it stays a small thing. Another is that we can consider the value for the receiver, but also for the giver. Yesterday in my ward in Valencia, Spain, the meeting was unusually crowded, and I sat down in one of the last seats, next to a woman I didn’t know. She had two sleeping daughters draped across her, and kept trying to shift so they could continue sleeping. As I sat down after our choir number, I offered to take one of the sleepers. It was a small thing, though I have the impression it was a big thing for this tired mom. But it was also really valuable for me to feel like I had added to someone’s experience that day. I learned later that this was her first Sunday in the ward. Maybe I will have had a part in helping her connect here. That would be no small thing 🙂

  4. Caroline Kline says:

    Lovely, Kathy. I need to remember the beauty and the importance of the small acts more often.

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