It had been a long and exhausting day of traveling, and we now stood on the train platform waiting for our next train.
“Delay Approx. 15 min.”
We all shifted our eyes upward and let out an annoyed sigh as those words rolled across the platform screen. We were all pretty upset. And we were not only tired but also had grumbling tummies to attend to.
Three of us stood together on the platform avoiding social interaction and complaining because we were so hungry and just wanted to get onto the next train so that we could buy some food from the train cafe.
As our stomachs were shouting in unison on that platform, one of our other friends walked over with a bag of granola bars.
Eyes lit up and mouths watered as she joined our little circle.
“Do you guys want a granola bar?” she said sweetly, with a smile and a bit of a giggle, because it was pretty obvious we wanted one.
My friend took one bite of the bar, turned to us, and said, “I think this is the happiest moment of my life.”
Something as small as a simple granola bar lifted our spirits and changed our moods.
But this wasn’t just some bag she had picked up at the store a few minutes ago. This was a bag of food that she had packed for the next four months of our travels. And she was willing to give that away to us, simply because we were hungry.
I thought to myself, “Wow, if I were her, I’m not sure I would have offered any of my granola bars to all of my friends.”
And then I thought about why I would say that. I brought snacks with me as well, and I’ve been sparingly eating them myself, and I definitely haven’t offered any to my friends.
I had been so caught up in my self-centered way of life that I had begun to overlook the little things in everyday life that bring light into this broken world, like granola bars on train platforms.
I realized three things from this simple act of kindness by my friend:
1: Focusing on minute consequences often deters us from being a light
I do this way more often than I wish. I will think about helping someone or offering something of mine to someone else, but then I stop myself by focusing on every future consequence that could occur.
With snacks, for example, I always talk myself out of giving them away because “what happens when you run out in a week and don’t have a granola bar for the road?”, or “well, what if I really want those gold fish tomorrow night while I’m working on homework?”
These kinds of thoughts keep me in a selfish mindset and do not allow me to live fully and generously in the moment.
Because the truth is that it’s not a big deal if you don’t have something to snack on next time you’re doing homework or on a walk. It’s not a big deal when we run out of something so materialistic and disposable because in such a modern world, we will find something to replace it almost as soon as we need it.
Instead of indulging myself in my possessions simply because I am focused on insignificant possible consequences, I would much rather see a smile on someone’s face and know that I am being a light in a selfish world.
2: It really is the small things that matter
Handing a granola bar to a hungry friend may just seem courteous and minuscule, but it can change someone’s entire mood.
And when you can impact someone’s mood in even the smallest way, you are ultimately impacting their life.
That granola bar saved me from a tummy ache and from spending money, because I no longer had to buy something from the train cafe. It moved me out of the way of several inconveniences, and ultimately lifted my mood (because let’s be honest, we’re all a little grumpy when we’re hungry).
Offering someone a snack isn’t some grand gesture, but it sure does show humility, compassion, and generosity.
When you live a life rooted in generosity you are able to step into a world where the little things bring so much light and love and joy to your own life and the lives of others.
3: When we live generously, we live more like Jesus
Last night, as I was sitting in bed journaling, I stopped mid-sentence because a single verse popped into my head: Philippians 2:7.
I have never had this happen to me before, but I knew as I was sitting there that this was a word from the Lord. I had no idea what Philippians 2:7 said, but I knew that verse was spoken over me and my travels to come.
So I opened the Bible app and pulled up Philippians 2:7, and it reads:
“…rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
I sat there and thought about my friend and her granola bars. In that little moment she became the hands and feet of Jesus, becoming like a servant and giving of herself to help others, when she could have kept to herself and enjoyed all of her granola bars later.
But instead of choosing selfishness, she chose love. She chose light. And we have that choice each and every day, in each and every situation we come face-to-face with.