This past week was full of heartbreaking news around me. I had friends lose their homes, lose their beloved pets and a couple families lost their babies due to complications. There has been a flurry of bad news that makes you reflect on your life and what is truly important. You take stock in where you are placing value. You start to realize that life is less and less about bank accounts and stuff. It is about moments in time and memories that you can create. It is about a bedtime ritual that you hope your children pass along to their kids.
For me, it is about Tarzan, a Peanut Butter Sandwich and a Bendy Straw.
I have two daughters and an amazing wife. They are what drive me and push me to be bigger than I think I can be. But they do not want a whole lot. It does not take the stars and mood to make them happy. It takes some very simple things.
Over the past couple days one of my little girls has been battling a stomach bug, throwing up every couple of hours. It tears a parents heart out to see them suffer and not completely grasp what illness is. They just know that it sucks!
One night I was tucking her in for her afternoon nap. I went to give her a drink and told her that the next time I went to the grocery store, I would get her a bendy straw for her drink. Who knew how powerful a bendy straw would be. For the next 24 hours, every so often, she would ask from laying down, “Have you gone to the store and gotten a bendy straw yet?”
I went Monday morning. I spent 1.99 on a pack of straws and brought them home. Her face lit up and she was on cloud 9. She was beaming when she realized that I had gotten the straw. It was just a straw, but it wasn’t to her. It was something more.
Lunch rolled around and my other daughter saw me eating a sandwich…she wanted one. I made her one and she got so excited to be having it. She practically danced with joy right out of her chair. I wish I could describe her face and excitement about getting that sandwich. All I can say was that before she started to eat it with reckless abandon, she acted like she was holding a gold brick. A delicious gold brick. Her world was made.
And then there is Tarzan. The movie that gets both of my kids going crazy when they realize that they are about to watch it. They dance to the music, they mimic the gorillas and know it from the first note of the opening credits. It has been there movie of choice for the past couple of weeks. It makes their day!
So there you have it, Tarzan, a sandwich and a bendy straw. It does not take much to make someone’s day. It does not take a lot of work to change someone from feeling down to feeling like they are the most important person in your world.
But many of us only know how to think bigger and better. We think about the next big thing that we want to do for someone. We focus on the project or the plan to make that happen and we put what we can do in the here and now on the back-burner.
Life is not built around the big moments. It is built around the small consistent moments that are filled with love and compassion. We all want to do big things for others, but we all have to remember that caring, has more value than anything we could by. It is a little moment here or there where we reveal to someone that we see their pain and want to enter into it with them.
It’s time that we all start paying attention a little more to what people really want and need from us. We all might be surprised at how easily we can change a life…all it takes is a movie, a sandwich and a bendy straw!