A ‘Thought for the Day’ for Black Cat Radio – 25th July 2020

This week I went to a hairdresser. Just for a trim, nothing major, but it was lovely to have that bit of pampering after they’ve had to close for so long. I’ve also read a letter this week on the internet that was written to a hairdresser. You might’ve seen it but if not, it was from a man who’d brought his wife in for a haircut. She was suffering from dementia and a few months later she sadly passed away. The man wanted to say, though, that she’d loved that haircut. It had made her feel so good about herself she couldn’t stop looking at herself and smiling. The man was very grateful and wanted to tell the hairdresser what a difference she’d made.

It was a lovely story, and really got me thinking about how we don’t always know when we might do something ordinary to us, but which makes a big difference to someone else. We should never underestimate what we can do for others just by doing our job with kindness or making a little bit of extra effort. On the other side, of course, how often do we thank people when they do something that’s helped us? We remember to be grateful for the big things but thanking people for things they might even have realised they’ve done can really make their day as well.

In the Bible Jesus talks about how small things can make a big difference, and about how we can build up a better world with the smallest and most ordinary of things. I think we can all get behind the idea of doing small things to make a big difference, and maybe one of them could be thanking someone for doing small that makes a big difference to us?

Small Things

A ‘Thought for the Day’ for Black Cat Radio – April 2020

Coffee cravings

I don’t know if it’s the change in weather or the extra weeks that’ve been added on, but the lockdown has been feeling harder for me this week. We all have ups and downs in this, of course, so I know I’m not alone. What’s keeping me going right now is looking forward to going to a coffee shop again. I used to go pretty much every day as with working from home it was essential for making sure I saw people and didn’t start talking to the walls. I took it entirely for granted that I could do that but now it feels like some amazing dream. It’s funny, really, how we do take small joys for granted. Hugging a friend, having a pint in the pub, all those things we like to do that make us feel a bit happier. They don’t seem much until they’re taken away and then we begin to realise how much they brighten life up.

Notice the good

So, I’m looking forward to being able to do things like decide to go out for a coffee again. I also hope that one outcome of all this lockdown will be that I stop taking good things for granted. Christianity encourages us to notice and think about the good things around us, and to give thanks for them. This isn’t just to make God feel better but because when we have an attitude of looking out for the good and being grateful for it we tend to be happier and more fulfilled.

What can we do?

So, if you feel a bit down right now I’d like to invite you to join me in thinking about the small good things that are around now. Or you could remember the good things we used to do and will do again one day. Then, together we can practice being grateful for those things and start to feel a bit better.

On Small Things: Or a Path to Faith

I’ve been hearing quite a bit about the importance of small things in sowing the seeds of faith.

Sometimes it seems like it’s something we say to convince ourselves that our efforts are worth it when we feel a bit small and unimportant (or maybe that’s just me).

Less cynically, though, I really do think it’s true, based on my own journey into faith.

I grew up in a family which was basically indifferent to religion of any kind. It was never discussed, thought about or considered important.

When I was very young we sometimes went to Midnight Mass but that fizzled out after a while. I remember those few services, though, the light and colour and singing and sense of wonder.

Easter was just a chance for extra chocolate. The idea of going to church would never have crossed anyone’s mind.

There was also a huge old children’s Bible in the house which I think belonged to my grandmother (at least it seemed huge then) and I liked looking at the pictures, although I don’t think I really understood that the stories were meant to be true.

Then, when I was about 9, we moved to a new house and the local primary school was a Church of England one, so I had a couple of years of Christian assemblies and visits to the parish church. It didn’t seem to make any difference at the time as I didn’t really think about it, but I still remember enjoying singing the hymns and looking round at the church.

I was also a Brownie for a short while and then a Guide, and there was some Christianity hanging about in the background then. I remember that the only times I went to church on a Sunday at that time was for parades because I wanted a chance to carry the Brownie or Guide flag up the aisle. I know it sounds shallow, but it was an opportunity to be part of something and have a role.

Then I reached the age of 12 and we moved again – this time to France. This was a lonely and extremely difficult time for me, with no friends, little knowledge of French, problems at home and my sister remaining behind in England.

Sometimes I would go and sit in open churches, just on my own, not knowing anything other than that they were places of peace and refuge.

But it was then, when I was at my lowest point of despair, that I suddenly became aware of God’s loving presence all around me. It’s hard to put into words but I knew at that moment that God was real and loved me.

This was a dramatic moment, but I truly believe it wouldn’t have happened without all the small things that came first.

If I hadn’t had that sense of wonder at Christmas services, some idea of Christian ideas through hymns and school and Guiding, a bit of knowledge of the Bible from playing around with an old book, the chance to just sit and be quiet in a holy place, I don’t know that I would have been able to receive and understand the experience that I had.

And so yes, all the small we things we do as churches and individuals to show love, help others, spread the gospel, serve the community, go into schools and so on – they are important and may bear fruit long after the people doing them are gone.


“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6.9