The Little Things

The Little Things

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

The Little Things

What this world needs is a new kind of army — the army of the kind.

~Cleveland Amory

I have always enjoyed the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and, in browsing through a bookstore a few years ago, I found a used copy of the Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul edition. Sandy Ezrine had written a poem titled “It Couldn’t Hurt” that focused on the small acts of kindness she had shown toward others.

That poem made me stop and think that opportunities to help others in the big, outstanding ways do not often come our way, but we can make a difference in the lives of other people when we focus on the little things we can do for them. I decided to put that attitude into practice and began looking for the little things I could do for the people who crossed my path each day.

Almost immediately, I began to see the difference it made not only in the lives of others, but also in my own life as I focused more on others and less on myself. The poem that follows is the result of Sandy’s inspiration to me in my own personal life.

The Little Things

I baked muffins for the young man who cut a portion
of my yard and would not take any money.
He said how good they tasted.

I went to the grocery store for an older neighbor couple
during a snowstorm when they were afraid to drive.
They were grateful for the food.

I took a special pastry to the gentleman in the neighborhood
on his 90th birthday when he was not expecting it.
He smiled and said he liked sweets.

I prepared lunch for the carpet-layers as they worked in the heat
and had forgotten to bring lunch with them.
They ate like hungry children.

I took drinks to the trash men on a hot afternoon in summer heat
when they looked so exhausted from the humidity.
They drank it like men never having water.

I took homemade chicken noodle soup, crackers, and cheese
to a lady in an auto accident, temporarily confined to a wheelchair.
She liked the taste of something she had not prepared.

I sent a special card to a lady in the neighborhood
who was facing her husband’s first birthday after his passing.
She thanked me for being sensitive.

I had a “thank you” lunch for the ladies who had helped with food
after my knee surgery and the following convalescence.
They had a good time of fellowship.

I baked brownies for the plumbers I always called with problems
when they did not charge me for a service call.
They appreciated the recognition.

I spent the afternoon with a friend who had lost a close family member
when she had no one else with whom to share her hurts.
She felt the freedom to cry and felt better.

I sent a special card to a lady whom I had known for years
when she faced the first Christmas without her husband.
She knew that I truly understood her situation.

I stopped and thanked the custodian at the busy local hospital
when he was mopping the dirty footprints from the hall.
He stood up straighter and seemed so pleased.

I prepared a meal for a friend who works many long, hard hours
when she came home weary from being on her feet.
We enjoyed the meal together and talked.

I thanked the checkout lady at the grocery store cash register
when she totaled my bill and gave me change.
She was pleased that someone appreciated her.

I read a poem by Sandy Ezrine when she shared her thoughts
about not waiting to do the big things for others.
I was a better person for it.

~Carol Goodman Heizer

More stories from our partners