Woodland HillsA friend of mine, J. Kirk Richards (one of the very few “Jesus painters” I can stand – he said from me that’s certainly a compliment), recently brought back some works of mine which were on display at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.  He knew I was up to my eyeballs at work and, since he was going there anyway, he brought my sculptures back with him.  He didn’t have to do it, he didn’t feel like he was going out of his way, and from his perspective it wasn’t a big deal.

But it’s a big deal to me.

And when I went to his home to retrieve them, I had a wonderful experience traveling through 3 seasons – it was a cool “fall” when I left, it was a drizzly, snowy “winter” when I drove through Woodland Hills, and it felt like a chilly “spring” when I got back home.  The picture is from the drive – the sticky snow had come so quickly that all the cars stopped, not out of irritation or frustration but amazement.  A quick 30 minute snow shower completely transformed the cold, gray, bleak landscape into an environment of wonder.  So not only was I very grateful for Kirk’s bit of service on my behalf, but the short trip blessed me with a moment of beauty.

I can’t place the quote exactly, but I remember reading somewhere that a journalist was telling Mother Teresa that her cause was hopeless.  “There are thousands upon thousands of these desperate people and you can only help one at a time.  What good do you think you can do?”  Her answer was simple, “I can help one at a time.”  Huge cataclysms change the face of the earth in moments, monster storms leave paths of destruction in their wake, but do the little things really matter?

We survive the cataclysm.  We recover from the storm.  And the little kindness stays with us forever.

In every spiritual tradition there is a thread of the same teaching – little things count.  One of my favorite phrases is “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”  Another is “Even a smile to your brother is an act of charity.”  Do we remember the sacks of gold, offered to the temple by the haughty who disfigured their faces with grief?  Or do we remember the gift of the Widow’s Mite?

Kirk didn’t have to go out of his way, but he did.

Next time I think “What good will this little thing do?” I’m going to remember what Muhammad said.  What Jesus said.  What Gandhi said.  What Buddha and all the others said.

Mother Teresa only helped one person at a time – and look what she did.