Postcards from the other side of the world

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The other day I received an awesome little postcard from my friend Ashley who is currently working in Cambodia (you can check out her blog here. It’s definitely worth a look). On the surface, there really isn’t anything special about it. There’s no flamboyant decoration, intensely intricate details, or even super high quality paper. By all accounts, it’s just ordinary postcard. However, it’s not. It came in my mailbox after a long and stressful week teaching, and it was an encouraging shot in the arm that I really needed. The thought that was shown by this little gesture is what counted, not the sticker price. Ashley has always been encouraging friend and pen pal, and her little postcard reminded me of something I often take for granted: the power of small things.

Something one of my mentors told me about relationships, be it friendships or romantic ones,  is that they are defined and kept alive with the little things, not the extravagant. The example he used was his marriage and things his wife would do for him. Little post it notes, a random email while he was at work, a whisper of encouragement when she saw he was frustrated, the list goes on. He couldn’t remember half of what they did for their anniversary, but he was able to list dozens of little things his wife did that filled him with joy. After telling me all of these things, he said “This doesn’t just apply to marriage. This applies to all of your relationships, your friendships, and even how you deal with casual encounters out in the world. You can always do a small thing and make a big impact.”

One of the things I’m trying to be more intentional about this year is being intentional with those I care about. In the past, especially as I’ve gotten busy, I have often taken people for granted, or not given them the time they probably deserve. God has them in my life for a reason, and God has me in their life for a reason, and I should honor that by encouraging them and showing them I care as much, if not more, as they pour into me. Taking and never giving is a symptom of not only selfishness, but also pride. Loving the people who God puts into our lives to show His love for us should always be a priority.

Proverbs 17:17 says that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”. When I hear this verse, I think of two people standing side by side, facing the world together. It may be a small thing to simply stand next to someone or put your arm around them, but I can tell you from personal experience, it means far more than you can imagine.

Learn to love people in the small things, and then watch big things happen.

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