This morning I was reminiscing with my mom about a time in my childhood… We were discussing some of the details of the most trauma-filled years of my young life. I shared with her one memory that I can not talk about to this day without crying. You would think it was a bad memory, but it’s not. Even as I write about it, I have to cry… Maybe because it was one of the moments that defined something greatly important to me.. kindness in the small things….
You see, due to circumstances beyond my parents’ control I spent a lot of time in other homes in my early childhood. I don’t blame them for it. My mom could not help the fact that she was in the hospital and we nearly lost her, or that she was physically too unwell to lift a baby.
But one week in particular is still etched into my young mind. It contained some unpleasant incidents and probably the worst case of me feeling abandoned or orphaned in my life… But in the midst of it all there was one girl… she was much older than me, but she was in the same home I was. While she couldn’t be with me all day, when she was there she was my sun and my hope. I didn’t sleep well, could barely choke down my breakfast, and couldn’t leave the table until I choked down my plate of food… and that pressure only increased the size of the lump in my throat, but every morning she was assigned the seat by me and she noticed my predicament and took charge. With kind words she took my plate and cut my breakfast pancake into perfect squares. She carefully counted them…”Eat it just one square at a time,” she said, and I did. For the rest of my time there she always helped me find a way to eat my food before she had to leave for the day, and a hundred times a day I would ask WHEN she would be back. She always took time to spend with me in the evenings before we’d be separated again at bedtime.
From then on I thought pancakes cut in perfect squares tasted the best, but somehow no one could cut them to taste right like she did… I have since come to realize that it was the simple act of kindness, love, and caring that made the difference, and not the perfect squares.
Sometimes we do not really fully realize just how much a kind word, a small act of service, or a gentle touch can change someone’s life for the better, but it can, and it does. We might never see the fruit of the seeds we plant, but Someone does.
Just as God allowed that girl to be there to cut my pancake into perfect squares to help me eat and feel loved, so He delights in caring for His children through us in ways that may to us seem small. I know He delighted in the willingness of the girl to care and do something for me in my time of need.
What about me? What about you? Are we willing to do something as simple as “cutting a pancake into squares” for that whining, possibly annoying, homesick, child at the table? Just some food for thought on my Saturday…