My friend and musical buddy Martin, once wrote a song which he titled Simple Deeds. I remember a verse:
“Simple Deeds are easily done, and there’s hardly any effort involved
And when they’re done, she’ll turn to you and say
thank you, for being there for me …”
I remember fondly this meaningful message thinking in particular, the magnitude of reward to this small by comparison, effort involved.
And so it is the little things which are the big things and when I think back across many years of hearfelt moments, there is some giving which I too have received that overwhelmed my sense of joy, worth, and appreciation both at the time, and even on reflection.
A LETTER – Enduring a dark period – my second I think – I became disconnected from most everything around me. I became inept at seeing anything but more darkness, hoplessness, pain, and grief. I spent many, many hours in bed and one afternoon, waking out of such mind-numbing slumber, I found a letter on the pillow next to me. It was from my daughter who, eleven at the time, wrote:
“Hi Dad, I thought I would write because I miss you …”
And while the rest of the letter detailed the conversations and friendship and engagement which we had shared previously and that which she missed the most, she also recognised that something was not ok and that she hoped I would get better soon. It brings my heart to tears even now thinking what she must have felt to have reached out in such a way.
A PICTURE – My son, not more than four or five at the time, drew a picture and brought it to show me. It was simple to the point of a few lines only. On the back of something else, it was naive, and it had mistakes in spelling where he had bothered to write names at the top. But as a depiction of he and I and our favourite guitars and the insinuation of the two of us creating music together it resonated within me beyond belief. Needless to say, I have that picture framed and still, sitting in my studio today while I continue to make music and continue to feel the love and warmth once given me by a young boy barely strong enough to pluck the instrument himself.
A PRESENT – As a Father to my son through his teenage years, at a particular time, we struggled financially. While I had full time work the pay was extremely poor and the balance as it were, continued to spiral downward. A close friend asked me to meet her after work as she had bought me a gift. In retrospect I believe I was embarrassed by my financial situation and certainly by my perceived failings as a supportive parent, but whatever the case, I had made it clear that people were not to buy me or us gifts.
I was angry about this call but reluctantly met her as asked. To my surprise the gift was groceries – milk, butter, pasta, sugar, sauce, among other items. My anger dissipated without pause and instead I cried. It was one of the most beautiful gifts I had ever received and so that night, we, the three of us, enjoyed a hot meal and the shared company of loving – unconditional – friendship.
A DRAWING – Unexpectedly I received an envelope at my work one day.
A week or two before I had given a close friend some sheets of paper from my studio. This was no ordinary paper. It was hand-made by people with intellectual disabilities, a process I was part of, and had received the energy of perhaps 15 sets of hands before ever reaching mine. I loved this paper – how it felt, what it represented – and yet, shared it with her openly.
To my surprise, when I opened this letter, there was a folded sheet of the paper with a pencil drawing she had made of the view from her balcony. Not only did I feel the view and her apartment from what she had drawn, but the pencil, the time, and the posting of it to me, was so intensely respectful of the paper itself, that I was touched at a level I rarely encounter. I have the picture stuck on my studio wall and enjoy it’s “respectful” effervescence to this day.
Simple Deeds may not take much on the part of the giver but that aspect offers no comparison to the results they produce. It makes me wonder, if so little is required but they can touch a person deeply and meaningfully, why don’t we give them all our attention all of the time? Even moreso when one considers that the impact is not exclusive or reserved to the person receiving the ‘gift’, not at all. In fact giving can improve the giver’s health, outlook, joy, and fullfillment all at the same time. This whole deal is a win, win, win! Thank you to Susan Skog who sums it up eloquently:
“… giving back doesn’t mean that you don’t get anything in return. Helping others reach for a new day rejuvenates us in ways that another margarita-soaked vacation, more stuff, a fatter resume, or a supersized house can’t begin to”
Whether it’s in the thoughts process, or in the conjuring of a master plan for joyous surprise, or just in the sense of expressing your love and unconditional support in new and different ways, a small gift from you might just be something a person never forgets – in this lifetime or another. Sheds a new importance on the future possibilities doesn’t it?
Because at the end of the day, my friend Martin was right when he penned the song, right to express such effortless joy, and right when he said:
“Simple deeds are easily done”
Blessings and Peace
Pepperday, Martin, Simple Deeds, written 1997 or before …
Skog, Susan, 10 Ways Giving Back Helps You, http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/2009/04/10-Ways-Giving-Back-Helps-You.aspx#l0Ry1GkMTrgpZM8W.99, viewed 04, 14