The Language of Replenishment

When the snow is done falling, my father clears the front walk for the mail carrier.

The car pulls into a space, then pulls all the way forward so another car can fit behind it.

A neighbor takes another neighbor’s trash and recycling bins in from the street.

A young man shovels out a row of cars that belong to people whose names he doesn’t know.

Each day, our world is powered by small acts that ease the path of another.

The word small here is only in reference to the amount of time or effort these acts require. The word small has nothing to do with the size of the impact these acts have.

For if you have ever been on the receiving end of a shoveled out car on a freezing morning or come home at the end of a long day to find the trash bin back where it belongs, you will know that there is nothing small about these acts.

They can deliver us from our weariness, our cynicism, even, perhaps, our pain. They can be the glue we didn’t know to ask for that reassembles our faith in kindness.

So when we can, it’s worthwhile to spare a little time or effort to ease the way of another. Not so that we can be thanked or feel that we are good people or nice people or Samaritans.

But so that another soul who knows too well the language of exhaustion and depletion, can know, if only briefly, the language of replenishment.

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Caitie Whelan