I've been reminded twice this week of the Queen's Christmas message (read it here). Whatever you may feel about the royal family, her 2016 speech had a strong message that's stuck with me: small acts done with great love can make a big difference. She said: "...It’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine."
So, with Imogen Cooper's post about helping two homeless people in London, and Rowena House's blog thinking about endurance and love in writing (read it here), I wondered what the small things are that I do with great love which might make a difference. Naturally, the many small things I do for my family sprung to mind. Also caring for my pets, helping out friends, creating a painting or picture for someone's birthday. All these things I do because of love. They're not entirely selfless acts. I want the 'thank you', the smile, the hug. I'm no Saint.
‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’ - Saint Teresa of Calcutta
And then, of course, there's writing. Writing is where I really feel the smallness of what I'm doing. I do it because I love it. There's a selfish angle that writing stories makes me happy - even when it's hard, because all love can have great highs and lows. But the kind of stories I write that give me the greatest joy are stories of struggle, stories that explore compassion, evoke empathy, that tell of the darkness and of the light. These small acts of writing are always done with great love and, in their way, I hope will lead to greater compassion when they're read.
As the Queen said, I often feel helpless, both on a personal and a global level. Sometimes problems do seem too monumental to challenge or overcome. But, with each word I put down, maybe, maybe, this very small world I create can grow, ripple outward like a pebble hitting the surface of water.