A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Simple Gestures

Posted on: April 28, 2016

How quickly things can change. At one moment, a day can seem dull and grey—and then the sun breaks through the clouds. Or we notice the daffodils starting to bloom in the garden.

Or maybe one simple gesture lifts our mood: someone holds the door when we’re carrying an awkward package, a loved one or friend phones when we’re down, or our spouse gives us a much-needed hug.

Are we doing our part to lift someone else’s mood?

Sometimes we forget that it’s not all about us—that others have their struggles and challenges and need an encouraging word, a helping hand, or a kind gesture just as much as we do.

One parishioner at my church used to say that her ministry was giving hugs. Not only did she give a lot of hugs, she also made a lot of people feel welcomed and valued.

What could our own ministry look like?

  • hugs for our spouse before and after work
  • encouraging words for our children as they start their homework
  • genuine thanks for any store clerks or customer service reps we interact with during the day
  • positive reviews on social media of music, books or movies we enjoyed
  • text messages or e-mails to someone who’s in our thoughts

The gesture doesn’t have to be grand to be meaningful; it just needs to be timely. In my experience, saying thank you in some way at the time someone helps us is worth more than a big gift later. It’s better to catch our children in the act of being good and comment when we notice. And it’s more generous to offer that hug than wait to be asked for one. We all like to feel that we and our efforts are appreciated, even if we’re no longer children looking for a gold star on our work.

Instead of waiting for someone else to raise our spirits on a rough day, I pray that we would regularly make a point of doing those little things that might just help someone else get through the day.


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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