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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mother Teresa: Great love in small things

Beautiful Smile (Photo by Yosarian)
Many know this famous quote of Mother Teresa’s:  Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.

Fewer know these other quotes that reflect her faith in the power of everyday kindness:  Peace begins with a smile…  Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless…  If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one…  Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies…
Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.

In line with this philosophy, Prevention’s Stephanie Castillo came up with a list of “13 Ways To Be Nicer: Even when you don’t really feel like it.”  These acts of kindness include driving a friend to a necessary destination, ushering someone ahead of you in line, paying the toll for a stranger in the next car, giving an honest compliment, and over-tipping a service worker.

Not only can acts like these be spiritually edifying, but they can also help to relieve anxiety.  Castillo cites the results from a University of British Columbia research study in which people “with high levels of anxiety” were assigned “to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week.”  At the end of this time period, participants gained significantly in positive moods and relationship satisfaction.  These participants also experienced “a decrease in social avoidance.”

As Oscar Hammerstein II once wrote to his starMary Martin (words which later became part of the song “Sixteen Going on Seventeen (Reprise)”:   A bell is no bell til you ring it, A song is no song til you sing it, And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love til you give it away.


Copyright July 22, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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