Over and over, I am learning that our caregiving doesn’t have to be polished, perfect and profound. I believe that God takes each sincere, small, and clumsy gesture of caring and turns it into something big and beautiful.

Jeff Mulder illustrates this “little-to-big caring” in the following story:

Scott, a co-worker, died of a heart attack while riding his bike. He was only 52 years old and a very fast bicycle rider. I got the call about his death while driving to dinner. Here is what my wife and I did:

  • Drove home. Changed clothes. Called other co-workers (took 20 minutes).
  • Filled a cooler with ice, pop, and water. Drove to Scott’s house, put the cooler with a note to other visitors to take all they want  (took 20 minutes).
  • Gave Scott’s wife and youngest daughter a hug (took 1 minute).

That was it!

Later at the visitation, I spent over an hour listening to people thank Jeri and me for so wonderfully caring for Scott’s family. Some were people I knew, but most were strangers. I felt like a fraud. I said to myself, “I dropped off pop and gave one good and one mediocre hug.” All these people thought Jeri and I made this huge sacrifice. 

The next time I shy away from helping someone because I feel like I cannot do enough, I will think again. As my parents have told me over and over again, “Sometimes just showing up is all that is needed.”

Jeff ended the story by saying, “I am learning that small gestures of caring become significant gestures to those who are grieving.”


Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Madden

    Small gestures are really the best for someone in crisis b/c tje big gestures make people feel they have to stop and return the gesture. When I had a baby in the hospital there were items I needed but couldn’t find at the gift shop or they were too expensive. Today, my niece is in the hospital assisting her husband through lukeumia – I put together a box for for of those items – kleenex, cough drops, chapstick, tums, hair ties, and clip, emree board, finger nail clipper, etc. I know how it would have helped me.

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