There was nothing extraordinary about the story, but something about the image touched me.
The 54-year-old man in the hospital bed is in an intensive care unit. Just a few weeks ago, he had a liver transplant. The man giving him a shave is his son-in-law. The man’s daughter posted the photo along with her brief explanation.
“Tenderness between men,” she wrote on Reddit. “My husband with my dad in the ICU, giving him his first shave in weeks after a liver transplant. I was so grateful for this moment.”
We put up statues and monuments to the wrong people. We name buildings and roads after politicians. We love winners and those who have achieved some sort of big success. But we humans are at our best when we’re doing “little” things — every time one individual takes the time and makes the effort to do something kind and loving for another.
Those moments happen every day.
— It’s the mother who stops whatever she’s doing to comfort a child who’s stubbed a toe.
— It’s the husband who takes off work — to the unhappiness of his boss — because his wife is in pain and needs him to be with her as she goes to a doctor.
— It’s the teen-ager who stops to help a man who’s dropped his papers all over the floor of an office.
— It’s the adult son who visits his mother in a nursing home every day and takes her out when she needs to get away.
— It’s the father who changes his plans so he can be at his daughter’s stage debut, even though she has only one line.
— It’s the man who visits his elderly neighbor and brings her small gifts from time to time, just so she knows he cares.
Our best moments come when we show each other that we care. They’re not necessarily the “big events” that will be on a news broadcast or written about in history books. They’re the moments when we care for others and do things which make them feel a little more human. A little more loved. A little less alone.
Most of our statues and monuments are all about tribal pride or political ego. But in the daily lives of real people, the things which truly matter are those times when we serve each other in the smallest of ways.
It might be cooking a meal. It might be holding a hand in a moment of crisis. It might be cleaning someone’s house. Or it might be giving a man a shave.
We’re all better off when we remember to love each other in small ways. Try to do something — just a little thing — for someone else tomorrow. That act of service can make life a little richer and a little more loving for both of you.