Monday, May 30, 2011

Small Blessings

As the Lord was passing by, a fierce wind tore mountains and shattered rocks ahead of the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire.And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice.     
I Kings 19: 11-12 (GOD'S WORD Translation) 

Sunday midday was hot and bright. I had two errands to run, one to a friend's house to pick up pepper and tomato plants for our garden (my seedlings having bombed gloriously), and one to the grocery to pick up a few items.

I stayed at my friend's house longer than I had intended, standing and talking in her backyard. She is going through a difficult time in her life, and I listened as she talked. We stood there for a long time, as friends do, sharing our thoughts, sharing our hearts. When I left, a flat full of plants in my trunk, we hugged. Arguably I "did her a favor" by listening as she threaded her way through the maze of her thoughts. But I was the one who felt blessed by the encounter: blessed by the friendship, blessed by her trust in me that allowed her to give voice to her thoughts.

My grocery stop was fast; I had a half dozen items for a family supper last night and a family cookout later today. After I had checked out and started towards the door, I saw coming toward me an employee I have seen several times. He is a developmentally disabled man of indeterminate age who works there as a bagger. He and I have talked on occasion: odd, disjointed talks given his limitations. Now he was walking slowly past the checkout lanes, swinging his head from side to side as he asked "Arnold? Arnold?"

"Arnold?" he asked, peering closely at me through his thick glasses. Then he looked at my tee shirt and read, slowly and carefully, "Celebration of Life." (The shirt is from the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Clinic.)

He extended his hand to me to shake, saying "Celebration. Every day of my life is a blessing. What did you do to get that shirt?"

I told him I had cancer, that I had had a lot of special medical treatment, and that I was celebrating because I still alive. His eyes widened when I said "medical treatment," and he nodded gravely before moving past me.

His words stuck with me as I loaded my groceries in the car. His simple statement, that every day of his life was a blessing, resonated with me. A few minutes later, I headed for home, my car full of plants, groceries, and blessings.

"The best things come in small packages" is an old saying that we don't hear too often in this era of "bigger is better." I think it must be the same way with blessings. Sometimes we get confused, thinking the bigger the blessing, the better the blessing. But God doesn't always do the Big Event. Oh, sure, there are the spectaculars: the burning bush, the parting of the seas, the walls of Jericho. But after the dust and the noise and the clamor settle, it is the quiet, whispering voice.

It is the smallest of voices. It is the smallest of packages.

Time and time again, it is the small blessings that register deeply. It is the hug of a friend, the handshake of a bagger, the family around around the table that leave their imprints upon my heart.


Sharon said...

Sometimes in our busy lives we forget the small blessings. Thanks for yet another wake up call. There are many blessings around us if we only stopped to notice. I'm going to keep my eyes open wide today to see if I can't stumble over a couple...:)!

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

April, I absolutely LOVE this post. You really nailed it bigtime: the bigger the blessing does not necessarily mean the better the blessing -- so true! I love your beautfiful heart,taking the time in your busy day to listen to your friend and make conversation with the grocery store guy. You are a gift!

Brandee Shafer said...

Here via graceful.

Oh, I just love this.

I'll be your newest follower. <3

Donna said...

You are the blessing, dear April, to your family, friends, and to our community which is an infinitely better place because you are here.

see you there! said...

What a beautiful post April.

Blessings sometimes surprise us don't they? I had one yesterday (I wrote about it on my blog.) Tiny blessings.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I have needed this is so true.