My Life with God

Small Things, Small Towns

I called the optometrist office the morning of the appointment. I hadn’t received the paperwork they said I’d receive. That was okay, they said. It could wait. Also, my insurance had changed. I asked if they needed it prior to the appointment or if it could wait. I wanted to make sure I knew what expenses to expect.

“Oh, you’re okay. I’ve already looked up the insurance, because my son works for the same company.”

The benefits of a small town—people making connections and being helpful in small ways.

I’m not naïve enough to fail to see the downsides to small towns. No community of any size is immune from challenges and pitfalls. But I enjoy the coffee shop knowing my order (and coworkers’ so I can treat them at times without trying to remember their favorites). I enjoy making a connection over a common friend. I like neighbors watching out for me and my house. And I appreciate the accountability of running into people I know just about everywhere I go. Some would see it as a lack of privacy, but I choose to consider it an invitation into transparency. Live well among the people around you and be open to widening your circle.

Of course, this is all possible no matter the size of your community. We build community. We find people who share something with us—values, age of children, lifestage, interests, skills, goals. But it’s important to welcome the differences as well. Among our similarities, there are always differences. Among our differences, there are always similarities. We share it all. We give and receive. It’s not what we can get from our community, how it serves us; it’s what we contribute as well.

Those small things I appreciate in my community reveal some qualities I value. But how do I add value to my community? Perhaps in some similar ways but hopefully with my own creativity. I want to help people, which requires I stay alert to needs. I want to encourage well and listen well. I want to help pool the small things in order to grow into big things.

How can I help others feel cared for (while not feeling imposed upon or smothered)? It’s the small things.

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