While growing up we are often told that what matters in life the most are "the little things". As kids we nod, have no clue what that truly means, and add a fifth page to our wish list for Santa. As teenagers we roll our eyes, pretend to listen, and then ask for more money. But at some point along the way, hopefully, the truth of that statement begins to take on some actual meaning.
Some of us learn it earlier than others and some of us never learn. Those that do learn the true reality of the little things lesson can learn it on a small or large scale. I happen to have learned it on a scale of epic proportions.
I did a fair share of volunteer work even as a teenager and often with my church. One of the most memorable trips was to rebuild homes in one of the most poverty stricken areas in America. I gave up a decent chunk of my much anticipated summer break to sleep on a non-air conditioned gym floor in sweltering heat. Each day we worked tirelessly in our heavy jeans and work boots. But that isn’t what stands out in my memory from that summer.
I remember the conditions of those homes, the kitchen appliances sinking down below eye level into what was supposed to be a floor. The stories behind the houses and the families that lived there. One house that I painted belonged to a single Mom recovering from domestic violence. I can picture me, standing on that ladder, completely oblivious to all we would one day have in common. But, most of all, I remember the looks of gratitude and humility we were given.
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