An Act of Small

At a book event last Sunday, one of my neighbors called me over to her table. “I’m going to pay for two books, but I’m not going to take them. Instead, I’d like you to give them to two people who might not be able to afford a copy.”

This women is a character in my book. Though I don’t name her, I tell a story she had once shared with me. Several years ago, she offered to donate a kidney to somebody she knew only through a friend of hers. In the end, the exchange didn’t work out. In addition to several other complications, my neighbor was not a match. “I knew how disappointed the man and his wife were going to be,” she told me at the time. “And I dreaded telling them. But while I was on my way to their house, I realized something. And I was no longer afraid of their reactions.”

“What?” I asked, anxious to know how she had resolved to face this unpleasant situation.
“I realized that I had given them something. I had given them hope. And that hope had sustained them for several months during a very dark time.”

On Sunday, when this same neighbor offered to buy two books, and leave them for me to offer to someone else, I realized once again, how intimately and well she understood the power of small.

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