We gather around the T-shaped Sunday School tables, and she tells us about the time the lady next door decided to burn papers just as the wind picked up. But before long, the fire escapes its confines and surrounds the house.
She calls the fire department and runs next door to rescue the children, but instead the neighbor wants her to help fight the flames. To carry cups of water from the kitchen sink and spill them on the hot tongues that lick at the door.
So against her own better judgment, she listens to the neighbor’s need and to the Spirit’s whisper and runs back and forth until the fire trucks arrive.
And wonders all the while how these small cups of water can make any difference at all.
When the fire is finally out, the neighbor gushes her thanks.
Small cup by small cup.
We’re talking about the poor, really, and I don’t remember what triggered her to tell this story–except perhaps in the context of listening to another’s need instead of whooshing in with our own agenda.
But I think how easy it is for us to avoid doing anything at all because we wonder how our small cup can make any difference. And how big a splash does my $35 sent to one child on the other side of the world make in the fire of poverty anyway?
Small cup by small cup.
Because even a small word or act can have a big impact.
And one moment in time can change a lifetime.
The wind blows hard this morning, and I dodge a small thing–and almost make a big impact as I twist my ankle in the process.
Pink confetti swirls and settles at the edge of the concrete, edges it all wet and wilted.
My favorite tree, once dressed for the annual ball, tosses its skirts aside to take up the everyday green.
I hold soft petals, wet and limp. And remember–small petal by small petal.
How for a brief time they exploded in a flamingo flourish.
And I pray that I will see the needs and hear the whispers and give the small cups.
And that I won’t fail to caress every petaled moment before it fades.
Counting the Gifts
The scent of lilacs in purple and white.
The biggest grand girl raking.
My husband sliding closer in the pew and slipping his arm around me.
Trinity in a tulip.
A patch of wild violets.
The way the leaves dance against the sky.
Tigers baseball and a new sweatshirt.
Talking to the littlest grand girl on the phone.
The fragrance of fading Easter lilies.
Mounds of fresh-washed towels.