I was getting ready for bed and suddenly felt this uncontrollable urge to write about something that happened today.
My friend, who I met in my Czech language class in the Spring, and I took a break from language review/practice to go for lunch. We went to a restaurant a few minutes from my apartment, and prepared to order.
We had a lovely, young woman as our waitress, and when she approached us, she (of course) spoke to us in Czech. My friend and I ordered our drinks and tried to tell her we needed a few more minutes with the menu. At this point, she switched to English, but I quickly told her we were learning Czech and wanted to practice. She smiled sweetly and switched back to Czech, but made an effort to speak more slowly so we could understand.
Throughout the remaining time at the restaurant this wonderful server treated us with kindness and patience as we fumbled our way through communicating with her in Czech.
Her gentleness and understanding of the fact that we were trying hard to speak in her language has stayed with me all day. I can hardly express how much I appreciated her patience, even though the restaurant was busy and she had many others who needed her service.
If she was frustrated by us, she didn’t show it one bit.
When we made a mistake or said a word incorrectly, there was no judgement.
Her sweet smile never left her face.
After we left, I’m sure she did not give us another thought, but her actions have stayed at the front of my mind all day.
How she treated us may not seem like a big deal to many, especially given that her job is in the service industry, but it meant a lot to me. She made me feel appreciated and valued for attempting to speak only in Czech.
This has not been a regular experience for me; often when I have attempted to speak Czech, the person I am speaking to will switch to English. If they don’t know English, they’ll just use hand gestures. And many times I have sensed their annoyance with me as I stumble through my limited Czech.
My experience today has reminded me of the importance of appreciating the little things.
So often we only focus on the big things – the next adventure, a new experience, going on vacation, the start of a relationship, the big presentation, a visit from a loved one, the wedding day, the birthday celebration.
We spend the time in between ‘the big things’ waiting for, and anticipating the next ‘big thing’.
In doing that, we frequently miss out on the little things that matter just as much as the big things.
The little things like…
Seeing a wooden moose painted with your home country’s flag in a small German town.
When your friend’s 5 year old son wants to sit next to only you.
When you see a beautiful landscape and take a moment to be mesmerized by it.
When you get excited over the appearance of a rainbow in the sky.
When there’s a hammock on the porch of the beautiful cottage you’re staying at for a few days.
I could go on and on…
Often we can fail to see the beauty in the moments that seem small.
We forget that even the little things need to be celebrated.
We’re so busy planning or praying for that next big thing that we don’t realize how incredible much of the small things are.
A friend of mine writes her blessings in a gratitude journal. It helps her focus on all of the good in her life instead of the negative.
She struggles with anxiety, so it would be easy for her to focus on her trials. Instead she purposely focuses on her blessings and all that she is grateful for.
I used to keep a gratitude journal, and it is something I am going to do again.
I want to focus on all of the positive things, big and small, that God has blessed me with in my life.
I want to remember that every experience, every moment, every word spoken, every action taken matters.
Because we never know how our words or actions may affect someone else.
I am certain that the waitress I had today has no idea what an impact she had on me. I am sure she doesn’t know that she made my day better through her actions. I think she would be surprised to know how much what she did meant to me.
We often have no idea how we can impact people. Something we do that may seem minuscule or ordinary to us may be the difference between a good and a bad day for someone else.
A smile can lift a hurting heart.
Holding a door can straighten burdened shoulders.
Giving up a seat can bring rest to aching legs.
These are all little things.
But they matter so much.
Pay attention to the little things. Find the beauty in them. Find the inspiration in them. Find the joy in them.
Embrace the blessings.
And be the bright spot in someone else’s day.
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