Sometimes the little things can mean a lot. We've heard that. But this weekend I was reminded of it from both a positive and a negative perspective.
First, the positive. I've mentioned here many times my love for a good cup of coffee (here, and here, and here, and here). When we went out west this summer I found a little place in Flagstaff, AZ where I brought home a bag of brew with the wonderful name of "Danger Monkey." It's great stuff. Sadly, it didn't last long.
Being the whiner that I am, I mentioned on Facebook that I had just brewed up my last cup and jokingly said that if anyone was in Flagstaff I'd appreciate them going by and picking up a bag for me. A lovely couple from our church saw that, got on line and found the company that makes/distributes that particular blend, and ordered me a bag. They came in on Sunday morning with a bag of beans and a grinder. Made my day!
Seems like such a little thing, but it really did cheer me up. Not just the coffee itself, though I'm loving that! But just the fact that these folks thought enough to go to such lengths to demonstrate a kindness to me. What amazing folks, and what a great blessing. It's the little things.
Now, for the big negative. We live out of town a ways with only a handful of houses around us. When the trees are thin enough, we can see two. So it's not like we have "next door" neighbors like many folks think about. Still, you'd think we'd do a better job of making a point to be more neighborly to those closest to us. We haven't. And Saturday we came to regret that very much.
The folks who live across the highway from us, back up the hill, suffered a tragedy. The wife came running to our door asking for us to call 911; her husband was trapped under a tree. Turns out, he was on a tractor and the tree had him wedged into the seat. My son and I ran over and managed to get the tree off of him, but it was obvious that he had already been dead for some time. Sad, sad day.
Sad because of the tragic loss of life. Made even sadder by the fact that we haven't done much over the years to reach out to this older couple and be better neighbors. We barely know each other's names, wave from time to time when we're both out at the mailbox, etc. But that's about it. Once in awhile we took them some peach jam Cheryl had made. Once he mowed the ditch in front of our house with his tractor. Little things, but far too few of them.
I can't help but think of missed opportunities to do some of those little things that would have brightened their day. Little things that would have helped us build a relationship. As my wife and I sat with this new widow, trying to offer what comfort we could, our lack of doing any of those little things really stood out to me.
Here's the point. I realized this weekend how much some little gesture can mean, and how much regret can be felt for missed opportunities. So I'm going to do my best to be more mindful, to look for more opportunities to reach out, to offer a little encouragement, buy someone some coffee. Why don't you do the same? Find some way to be a huge blessing with just a little effort this week. You'll be glad you did.