Last week I spoke about some small moments with a neighbor boy, silly times together that included a hello, a wave, a bicycle race down the street, small moments that lead to a serious one under a tree in the rain when his grandmother needed emergency medical care. They were small moments that lead to a bigger moment when I was able to step in with words of loving kindness, God’s loving kindness.
When Small Moments Get Big…
During that same time, I found myself dealing with some less than positive moments, small moments that culminated in a bigger moment that was not great.
One day I got a call from the city. They’d detected a water leak. Although small, they said I would want to tend to it. I agreed, but before the plumber could come to the house, a city truck stopped by the house and shut off the water. The leak was no longer small.
I made call after call and finally found a plumber who could come to the house—late in the day. Holding flashlights to illuminate the darkness, we watched our guy replace the leaky pipe and make the simple repairs needed.
The next day water was spurting from the point of our repairs. Evidently the fix had stressed older attachments. We also had earth moving, tree roots rooting, and now water gushing–again.
Except now it’s Saturday and finding a plumber on Saturday is rather difficult. Actually it’s very difficult. Finally a local company corralled one of their workers and had him leave another job to head my way.
For two days I fussed over small moments that had been a major inconvenience. Every hour and a half I was running up to our church, two blocks away, to use the restroom. I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about whether or not I’d be able to shower before going live with my Friday “Morning W.O.L.K. with God.”
I was very inconvenienced and not happy about it—and not at all happy about the failed repair. In between calls to area plumbers were the calls to the corporate home office. Several work items had been processed incorrectly or not at all. After a year with all of us working at home, I expected the glitches in their systems to be figured out, so I was less than pleased when I discovered the mishandling of client paperwork, small moments that were feeling large as tax deadlines loomed.
…and Not in a Good Way
Waiting for the repair of my repair, I also had a ridiculous moment when I learned my needlework kit included a wrong green yarn. I’d been sent two closely-related greens, not two of the same green. I called the shop and explained the situation and was told there was nothing they could do, since they’re unable to accept returns during the pandemic. I said I understood, but would need the correct green, even if the dye lot was no longer available.
In the mail came the yarn with a debit to my account of $11.63. I was not pleased. I immediately called the store.
“But you said you wanted the yarn.”
“But you made the mistake. And now you would risk losing a long-time customer over $11 and 63 cents?”
And that’s when I heard it: the pettiness, the impatience, the “Do you know who this is?” tone in my voice. Would I really risk losing the relationship with my favorite yarn shop over $11.63 during a less than ideal moment in the pandemic?
Throughout the pandemic I’ve tried to be a little more patient, a little more understanding. I’ve over-tipped. I’ve made bigger donations. And then several smaller moments caught up to me and became a bigger moment—and not in a good way.
While I was preparing for last week’s episode of “Morning W.O.L.K. with God,” the one in which some small moments became a very touching bigger one, I opened to Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament, and there in chapter 7, verse 8 were the words,
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
And isn’t that the truth? We can start out with the best of intentions, the highest hopes, but find ourselves in a mess, if we toss aside patience and wrap ourselves up in pride.
I struggle with pride. I’m also really good at self-righteous indignation. I like perfect. But life is not perfect. It wasn’t perfect before the pandemic and it’s not going to be perfect when our masks come off and we return to normal, “whatever normal is,” as my mother-in-law would say.
Small moments can take us to beautiful places; they can also set us up for icky ones, if we’re not careful.
Making notes for today’s message, I wrote “world” of loving kindness, instead of words of loving kindness. It really wasn’t a mistake. Words of loving kindness help us create a world of loving kindness. And that’s worth way more than $11.63. That’s priceless.
On my desk is a rock. Etched in it are the words, “Choose joy!” I’ll never forget a conversation my husband, Kurt, had with me after an early episode of “Morning WOLK with God.” “If we don’t choose joy, we can choose to be a butt.”
Yep, that’s my guy!
Heavenly Father, this has been a long and difficult year.
We thank You for being with us in the small moments and also in the bigger ones.
We pray that we might share Your love and Your loving kindness with those around us—
when it’s easy and when it’s not, in the best of times and in those times that aren’t so great.
Forgive us our impatience, our pride, our shortsightedness.
Fill us with Your love, joy, peace, and hope this day and always.
In the name of Your dear Son, Jesus, amen.
Our WOLK, your words of loving kindness, matter—in the smallest ways and also the bigger ones. I’m grateful to be on this special journey with you.
Deanna Nowadnick is the author of Fruit of My Spirit and Signs in Life.