Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fudge and Thin Mints: more than just calories

I wanted to do something really special, but I settled for making fudge. And it didn't even turn out that well but I sold those 36 pieces of fudge for $12 at the annual Candy Sale last week. Other people contributed candy and cookies and snack mixes which we sold for one, two or three dollars per plate or bag, and at the end of the day, with only three plates leftover we had  $345 for our cause. Little things really do add up.

Years ago, four girl scouts and two mothers sat outside an upscale grocery store as the sun went down and the evening got colder. An elegantly dressed woman stopped at the table and said "I will buy some on the way out" and her husband leaned in and with a twinkle in his eye whispered, "She really will!"
And so we waited, hoping for one more sale though we were eager to go home. As promised, the elegant lady returned and stood regally before our card table. She said, "Now I will buy one box from each of you if you will solemnly promise that, when you are grown-ups, and if you can afford it, you will always buy a box of cookies when asked by another girl scout." The girls, somewhat awed by her stern and commanding presence, all nodded solemnly or offered a timid "Yes Ma'am" and they each sold her a box of cookies. As the woman walked away, another grocery shopper asked the girls if they knew who she was. They  didn't (and neither did we mothers) but it turned out that she was Luci Baines Johnson Turpin, a famous Austinite who was once a Girl Scout herself, and the daughter of the President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

I think that all of us sometimes want to do big, important things. We want to break records, save lives, or change the world. We get overwhelmed by the unmet needs and unsolvable problems that surround us and we stew about what we could possibly do. Often, in our desire to do something big, we end up doing nothing at all. What a terrible waste of our passion and compassion!

It is probably more important to simply act where and as we can. Our actions will ripple outward. My small batch of fudge added to the gifts of others made a substantial contribution to a good cause. Luci Baines Johnson's stern speech to four little girls inspired all of them (and their mothers) to help out where and how they can - and they are now spread out across five states and six professions doing good where and as they can.

Every good deed is an act of faith. We cannot see where it will go, who it will inspire, or what future act of kindness will follow from what we have done. So do what you can and trust that it will ripple outward and create compounded goodness. Little things not only add up, when done in love they multiply!


Cheryl said...

I still always buy Girl Scout cookies! And, yes, waiting to do the big, important, "perfect" thing can be a long wait... Or is it another way to procrastinate, albeit with good intentions?

Janis said...

Such an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it...