The Little Things That Matter

A company's concern for it's employees impacted by natural disaster...The gift of a car?...Receiving a "thank you" even when you're unsure why...People we meet in heaven...A challenge...

Many of us who call the Gulf Coast home have dealt and are still dealing with a perilous last 30 days or so.  Hurricanes have brought relentless winds and devastating floods resulting in catastrophic property damage and most unfortunately the infliction of injury and loss of human life.

Those of us who call the Florida panhandle home have mostly been spared from these calamities, yet there remains two more months in tropical storm season.  We continue to keep our fingers crossed.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma I received a phone call from one of my employers, ESPN.  The motivation for the call was as a follow up to employees in Florida to check on our welfare and determine what was needed from the company.  I was fortunate to reply that in spite of some gusty breezes and a few downed tree limbs we were in much better condition than those south and east of us.

That phone call:  quite personal and very much appreciated.  So much of what we read and hear these days is about reductions in force, injustices, and how corporations care little about their people.  In this instance, just the opposite.  To ESPN, I tip my hat.

That exchange got me to thinking back about some of the other little things that have mattered.

Some time ago our family dealt with financial challenges.  Though we paid our bills on time and didn't have to miss meals we were forced to cash in our savings and sell a car.  With two small children and one car then, transportation and logistics were challenging.  A man who was in my "small group" at the time had come across a small inheritance, which included a vehicle.  And, a Cadillac at that!  He shared that he did not need another car and had prayed over what to do with it.  The response that he seemed to receive from God is that he should give it to us.  And he did!  That gesture not only answered our transportation needs, but served as a catalyst to a better fiduciary standing from that point.

Sometimes it's the unexpected thank you that matters.  We all want to "make a difference."  So it took me by surprise one day when a young man who I had been collaborating with at work dropped by to tell me that he was taking another job.  He also added that he was getting married.  "What you said a while back convinced me that to do what's best for our child, my girlfriend and I should be wed."  For the life of me I had no recollection of having said anything on that subject, but nonetheless applauded his decision.  Little things.

Fifteen years ago another work colleague invited me to a Spinning class.  I took him up on the offer, liked it as a form of exercise, and eventually became an instructor.  A few years after that first Spinning class he told me about an annual bike ride across Iowa.  This past summer was my tenth straight trek on RAGBRAI.  I like to say that Tom is one of "the five people I will meet in heaven."

Each of us craves to be a difference maker.  I would observe the impact of selflessness be it at work, home, or in leisure activities.

  • To what extent are your interactions focused on the other person and their thoughts and needs rather than your own accomplishments?
  • When was the last time you invited someone to be a part of something?
  • Would this evening be a good time to play catch with the kids, take a walk with the husband, or visit with a neighbor?
  • Who is someone that could use a pick me up due to an illness, loss of a job, or another unfortunate circumstance?
  • Who should you friend on Facebook or Link In with not for your benefit, but for theirs?
  • Does your neighbor need their grass mowed or potted plants watered?
Little things do matter.

The Seed Sower


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