The Sustaining Weave of Small Gestures

(originally posted in Huffington Post, Dec. 23, 2013 )

A few days ago, as I brought my Christmas mail to the post office, a young mother caught my eye. She was planting a quick kiss on her envelopes before dropping them in the mailbox. She did it covertly, so no one would see. But I did.

I asked her if she does this with all her mail. She nodded. We exchanged a few words and a moment of mutual recognition.

Ever since I remember, my mother has drawn a small “God bless you” cross with her forefinger on envelopes before dropping them in the mail… letters, cards, and bills. She does this to bless their voyage, encourage safe arrival, and to share a blessing with all who come in touch with the mail and especially the one receiving the mail.

I have continued this habit, also finding myself doing it when sending an important email: “May it be received in the spirit it is intended, with an open mind and heart. May it ‘land’ in the best possible of ways.”

And now my daughter continues the gesture, drawing a wee cross of blessing on envelopes as she sends them down the mailbox slot.

Seeing this woman warmed my heart, and got me thinking of all the myriad small gestures of care and blessing happening around the planet daily…

candles lit by grandmothers as they pray for their families…

kisses blown to loved ones as they drive away…

clothes smoothed and lovingly folded for our children to wear…

prayers whispered when we say, “Drive safely”…

little love messages and drawings slipped into lunch boxes…

the kind smile of the guy at the gas station…

the door held open by the 10-year-old for an elderly person before he runs off after his friends…

the lullabies sung in the middle of the night, heard only by the restless babes and their parents…

Little notes and gestures tucked and woven into the daily fabric of life.

Most of these go unseen. They are private, invisible, yet meaningful and precious. They express care, a touch of consciousness and kindness to daily occurrences.

Before this young woman and I parted, we shared a heart wink — joining with many other quiet agents of love, small gestures and rituals around the world, tucked in at the edges, silently, softly weaving worlds more whole.

I walked away encouraged. These little gestures remind me of the light in our northern hemisphere at this time of the year. How resilient and steadfast it is, even as the days are short and the nights long. A flicker, a caress and encouragement. A promise and a nudge to walk on, to keep on.

Small gestures matter. The light supports and helps get us through, however small the flame. Many small flames make a fire. Many threads weave strong fabric.

What are the little rituals, gestures and habits of care and love you share with the world? Ones passed on to you that you have adopted, perhaps adjusted? Or ones invented through the spontaneous expressions of your own heart?

May you never forget that these small gestures make a difference.

Together, may we continue offering such ripples of love, weaving a fabric of sustenance and hope.

Thank you for each of yours.

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