They didn’t care so much about what I was doing but were more interested why I would come

Often when I am doing work in a rural community, in what seems like the middle of nowhere, peoples first question is not what but why.  I have come to understand that  what they are really saying is that they care more about why I have showed up to help them than what I am dong.

I was on a long distance call with a good friend of mine from Western Canada last night.  I have not talked to Bruce in a few years and so we spent some time catching up on life and work.  We eventually came to the topic of what are some of our most recent accomplishments.

The conclusion of this discussion was that some of our greatest accomplishments were small things that had impact, and that is what I would like to share with you this morning.  A few months ago I received a phone call from a friend that I have been canoeing with for over ten years.  He wanted to thank me for showing him what it meant to receive a hug.  He told me that growing up hugging wasn’t part of how their family communicated and that he like it but was really uncomfortable with it.  I knew he was, because every time I went to hug him he went stiff as a board.  This act of hugging was important to him.

The reality is that that small gesture accomplished a lot for Ken.  My bike ride and my work overseas are great and I love my work, but the great accomplishment is sitting with people, showing up on a regular basis, eating on their floor, and giving them hugs…. in these things are the real accomplishments.

What will you accomplish today?