Significance Personified

images“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that some (many?) of my posts are not “on the light side.” Lest you think that Eric is always deliberate and doesn’t write about “joyful” matters, I am sharing what follows. It was sent by a reader who understood yesterday’s post, yet thought this saying was a light-hearted way to ‘bring it home.’

In the spirit of small acts and making contributions, I invite you (in comments) to share something you’ve recently done that you consider significant (all random acts count!) and that brought a smile to your and someone else’s face. πŸ™‚


51 thoughts on “Significance Personified

  1. I gave my old van to the neighbors up the street when my wife got a new vehicle. They didn’t have any transportation, older couple, so I just signed it over to them. They were dumb-founded, and beyond grateful. But I was blessed even more πŸ™‚

  2. It is the simple things Eric, on our recent holiday the ladies in the safari tent next to us offered their milk and butter to us because they were leaving. My husband had helped them start their fire with some firelighters as the rain made it harder to light it. She offered us wine and so it went on like this. When we were leaving we noticed a man camping in his van by himself. We gave him all the firewood we had purchased because we did not use it. We gave him home grown fresh eggs, tomatoes and bread. His face lit up and he thanked us many times saying this would be his dinner and the wood would last him a couple of days. It was his smile that got me, and I hope he passes something on when he leaves, even if it is but a smile to his neighbours.

    • In my mind and actions, Kath, simple things to us are often magnanimous gestures to others, obviously and especially for those less fortunate or simply appreciative. Seeing the man’s face light up had to be gratifying. A simple smile and a heart-felt thanks can mean so very much. I (and I know others) live for moments like this. Thank you for you and your husband’s generous spirit. It’s infectious and your share here certainly brought a smile to my face. πŸ™‚

    • That it does, JoNell! I believe some people refer to it as karma or ‘what goes around, comes around.’ Whatever the expression, it’s our acts that count. Thank you for adding to this warming thread.

  3. I’ve been a bit in crisis mode lately taking care of my injured daughter, so very few outgoing acts of significance have occurred recently, but, woo boy, have I been the recipient of many. Meals, advice, offers to help in all the most useful and kind ways. My belief that most people are good has been reinforced over and over. And the quote made me laugh out loud!

    • Life happens, doesn’t it Barbara? And when kindness and abundant blessings come our way, especially when unanticipated, it brings clarity to how valuable we are and can be for/to others. I’m wondering if there is a law or theorem that addresses ‘kindness reciprocated?’ It would make for a fascinating study.

  4. A woman came up to me on a trail the other day while I was taking photos of a great blue heron. She was very interested in my camera because she was thinking of buying a new one so I gave her an honest review of it, explaining its strengths and weaknesses. It wasn’t anything earth shaking but she was very thankful and left happy. I missed some great shots but it was worth it.

    • Thanks for sharing your personal experience, Allen. Sometimes sharing a bit of personal knowledge or a skill, when we least expect to be asked, can (obviously in your case) make someone’s day. And what makes such experiences even more beautiful and appreciated (by all parties) is that it wasn’t or needed not be earth-shaking. Definitely worth missing some great shots. πŸ™‚

  5. I saw that on Facebook and thought it was hilarious and yet so true! I don’t know whether I’ve made a difference or not, but I do make an effort to do the “right thing”,not just for me but those whom my ripple reaches.

    • Virtual friend in VA, my wager is that (of course) you have made a difference. I once had someone share with me, “Do good things.” Simple yet powerful and in the same vein as your doing the “right thing.” We tap into our true potential and become people of greater character when we do the right thing, whether anyone see or feels our actions. Thank you, suzicate.

  6. I was out running with 2 friends today, when I noticed a person on a mobility scooter further ahead on the pedestrian/bicycle trail. I sprinted ahead of my 2 running partners to start a conversation with this person. I ended up running alongside and conversing with a very nice lady for about 5 kilometers before we parted to go in our different directions. She was so grateful for the conversation. When she mentioned she had travelled for 1 hour to get to a particular store to get something she really needed, and was on her way home, being a hot day, I asked her, “Do you have any water?” She had a bottle of water, but drank it part way into her journey to the store. We stopped at a water fountain (with her mobility scooter, she is not able to reach the water fountains), I filled the bottle up, and she drank a bottle right there, and filled it up again for the remainder of her journey home.
    Just as we parting I heard the word “sir”, I looked over and the lady had one hand still driving and the other outstretched to get me a hug. We stopped and embraced. That hug did my heart SO much good.

    • Said light-heartedly, Imagine that, Carl? Someone being grateful for something as simple as creating time to converse with her, when many probably wouldn’t. And how much time and effort did it take for you to fill her water bottle? Minimal! I honestly got chocked up when I read how she out for a hug. I KNOW how your heart felt! Thank you for adding richness to this/our virtual exchange.

  7. I thought you might like to know that my boss had an opportunity to meet with Mother Theresa and every day at work I see a personal handwritten letter, in pencil, from Mother Theresa that my boss has framed. I stare at it often and it definitely speaks to me. I think my significant act(s) involve a series of small gestures giving time to friends I know could use a lift. I am often already stretched to just about my personal limit, and I recharge best all by myself, quite frankly. But I have been very deliberate to take one or two days a week to include a friend or two in some form of activity and it makes me happy to see that they have enjoyed an outing and some quality friendship time. These are really small acts, but they add up, I suppose. πŸ™‚

    • I can imagine how the simplicity of her handwritten (in pencil!) letter, could speak to and move you, Debra. Kudos to you for creating time in your busy schedule to deliberately (and that’s a key word) include a friend or two in some form of activity. My mom is 83 and blessed with sound mind and body, so she chooses to do this very thing with friends who are no longer drive or are unable to find ‘things to do.’ Your creating “quality friendship time” is huge! And yes, you may consider them small acts, but I suspect the recipients view them much more significantly. Thank you for adding your experiences here. I’m jazzed by all of the giving expressions shared here.

  8. I found a packet of biscuits for a very elderly man at the store. He said he came in every week and couldn’t see them, his smile when we found them was so beautiful and priceless.

    • So easy. So simple. So minimal in time and effort terms. Thank you, Karen. It’s definitely those priceless smiles that bring it home. Here’s to your next being able to find something for someone who couldn’t do so themselves. πŸ™‚

  9. I donated my car to charity as I am unable to drive at the moment. They were surprised that it was registered and in good condition. They sold it and now I buy tickets in their raffles, to win a later model of the same car! I’m not sure that either is significant, (and I normally wouldn’t mention it) but they seemed happy about it. I love both your quotes.

    • You’re not sure if this act was/is significant?!? Even if it wasn’t registered and in ‘okay’ condition, it’s still going to be a windfall for someone. I believe that determining the worth of something we give or do is not for us to value. That is up to the recipient and someone at a much higher pay grade. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. LHN, and for acknowledging the quotes. I like them too.

  10. As my 9-yr old daughter and I head into the shops yesterday, we see a frail elderly lady slowly and intently shuffling to a row of shopping trolleys. Without hesitation, my daughter ran up and pulled out a trolley and brought it to her. The lady was too frail to even speak much but I will not forget the radiant smile on her face, and my daughter’s action. They brought a smile and a tear to my face. I am blessed! πŸ™‚

    • If you are reading comments here, Florence, you see repeatedly that it’s the smiles that validate an action’s significance. A simple yet deeply grateful smile. Indeed, you, your daughter, and all of us who intentionally create meaning in others’ lives, are fortunate and blessed.

    • It’s like one of those good news stations or channels. The comments shared are confirming (at least for me) what we know about and value in our fellow human beings. Read on, Colleen; there’s more. πŸ™‚

  11. I had a woman whom I had never met before bring her daughter to get her hair styled recently. During the visit the mother shared very personal experiences of trials she was currently experiencing in her life. I simply listened and aftewards offered prayer and encouragement. She was so happy and appreciative that she thanked me profusely and asked for a hug before leaving. A couple of days later I filled a gift bag with nice simple goodies and sent them to her along with a card. She called back to thank me. I probably felt better than she did. I love to give gifts, time, smiles, a listening ear, it doesn’t matter it’s like one of the best feelings ever, especially when you know it makes a difference. Thanks for the post Eric.

    Be A Blessing!


    • From my August 6, 2013 post:

      β€œThe most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

      You obviously had a significant impact on this mother, LaTrice. When people we don’t know well (or at all for that matter) want to give us a hug to express their appreciation, that speaks volumes. And your gift bag gestures is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story. It warms, resonates, and is touching!

  12. Yesterday I was driving to the post office to get a package mailed on time, before it closed. I noticed a man’s body sprawled on the side of the road on the grass. There was a bike near him that was upright against a bus stop. The man was on his back and was not moving. I noticed all the cars ahead and behind me and wondered if they too noticed the man on the ground. People just kept driving past him. I knew the post office was going to close but there was no way I was going to keep going ignoring what I saw. I turned around and parked my car near the man. I got out of my car and still could not believe that no one else was stopping. Was I on Candid Camera? As I began approaching him slowly, I took my phone out to call 911. Before I finished dialing, a cruiser went by, saw the man and turned around. After he checked the man, he gave me the thumbs up indicating that the man was alive and he gestured that the man had been drinking. Thank goodness he was alive. I felt so disturbed by the lack or response by all the passers by. What if he was having a heart attack and no one tried to resuscitate him? What if that had been my husband or brothers? What if it had been me? I didn’t make it to the post office and I didn’t care. I went home feeling confused and discouraged.

    I know that we have to be careful these days before trusting strangers but man, it just felt so wrong to do nothing.

    • “It just felt so wrong to do nothing.” That statement alone speaks of and from your heart, and it clearly says you are compassionate. How many times do we see a situation not unlike the one you encountered, only to watch – flabbergasted – as people pay it (and more importantly, the person) no attention. Sure we ought to exercise caution when approaching someone/something unknown but to your comments, What if…? And yes, what if had been (you)?

      I am hopeful and suspect that having since given this experience more thought that you may now be less discouraged. What you chose to do, to help, was/is caring and commendable. Thank you!

  13. At least once a week, I call my aunt who’s housebound with a housebound husband and make her split her sides laughing. She needs that. On tomorrow, we’re going shopping for our garden boxes to begin planting veggies. She’s already told my mom how Totsy’s coming to pick her up and what we’re gonna do. I make myself smile when I make other folk smile, if that counts for anything.

    • It counts big time, Totsy! Giving, acts of kindness, and simply caring about and for others doesn’t need to be materialistic. Read some of the other comments if you’re inclined. People are all over the map with what they’re doing — and all of it is significant, to someone, in some beautiful way. I love the fact that you help people split their sides with laughter. What a gift! I hope you and your aunt got what you needed for your boxes and that both she and you are still laughing. πŸ™‚

  14. The most rewarding acts of kindness are the ones we do instinctively, without conscious thought and without a need of praise, reward or social recognition. However, I believe the greatest act of kindness is in the giving of our time, to those who do and those who do not realise they need it.

    Another thought provoking post Eric. πŸ™‚

    • Indeed, Paul; unconditionally and void of expectation or return. In addition to your mention of giving time and if you have time consider reading what’s been shared here in comments. Nearly all of the acts mentioned were simply of time and self. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your thoughtful comment, too!

      • I did read many of them before commenting and agree with you Eric that time and self was of equal importance in the stories. However, on a general point, I do wonder whether it is easier for people in today’s hectic societies to donate cash or objects rather than giving their time, seeming our free time is so precious, and if we do choose to give material help to others, do we then expect a greater recognition? Do we instinctively expect a smile or a symbolic gesture of gratitude in response to our acts of random kindness, and if so, and they are not forthcoming, do we become less willing to assist our brothers and sisters? I hope not. πŸ™‚

    • Alexis, thank you for your continued readership, your always thoughtful comments and for this gesture. I appreciate all of them. Respectfully, I will decline your kind award nomination and recognition of this blog. As is shared on the home page/archives, I have chosen to make the blog award free.

      • My pleasure, Eric. My apologies, looks like I’ve missed out on your post about making your blog award free πŸ™‚ But I see where you’re coming from, so no worries. I will still be reading for sure!

  15. If Jesus was the Son, then Mother Teresa was the Daughter. She walked the walk.
    Her mantra/prayer is a favourite also. Encouraging us to keep doing good no matter if the world doesn’t recognise it. In the end it is between the individual and God, how we lived our lives.

    • Indeed she “walked” it. In some well worn soles I suspect, too. I once had a mentor who was ever so succinct with his counsel. Three words he shared are etched in my perspectives and actions: “Do good things.” To which I, not surprisingly, aspire. Thanks for your warm comment, Frankie.

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