Have you ever met someone who did something amazing and they said it was no big deal? I don't mean someone who acts out the faux-humility that is so popular nowadays. I mean someone who really thinks it's no big deal. Maybe they helped you jump start your car or change a flat tire. Maybe they always know just the right thing to say in any situation. Maybe a neighbor helps you unclog your sink saving you hundreds of dollars or maybe it's the high school physics teacher who can take something abstract and cerebral like Einstein's theory of relativity and make it understandable for anyone. No big deal.
But I can't help but wonder. Maybe, just maybe, the no-big-deals really are the big deals. Maybe that thing that you can do that just comes naturally, almost effortlessly, is really a big deal. Because when we do something that is difficult, it starts to be all about us. We become very proud of our achievement. We put it up on Facebook. "Hey world, come and see this big deal I did!" And we might get a few likes. We might even go viral if we're really lucky. But it won't be long and the world moves on and everyone forgets our accomplishment. And then we're left longing for more of the attention folks give us for our big deal and so we go off in search of the next big deal. It's almost like a drug.
The bible tells us that "knowledge puffs up but that love builds up." (1 Cor. 8:1). And maybe this is part of what Paul was thinking when he wrote that. We become very proud of our ever expanding knowledge base and skill set. And there's nothing wrong with becoming more knowledgeable and skillful in and of itself. But when the no-big-deals get tossed aside, when doing the things that come naturally to us, the things that we were perhaps even born to do, when they no longer get done, well perhaps that's a big deal.
Twice a year I get to take a group of guys down to Hyden, KY, deep in the heart of Appalachian coal country. An area that has been ravaged by poverty over the last few decades as coal has become more and more blacklisted as an energy source due to it's reputation as a dirty fuel. One Spring our job was to build a new porch on the back of a woman's house. The old porch had rotted away and fallen down - years ago - and her and her family could not get out the back door. Now I have done this sort of things lots of times. I spent a few years building porches and ramps for low-income handicapped people and had to build things attached to all kinds of run-down houses and termite-ravaged trailers. It got to be no big deal.
And so this project was no big deal. In fact, I must confess that it sort of had a SSDD feel for me. It was the same-old-same-old for a guy who's business has moved on to building beautiful high-end bathrooms and kitchens, many of which cost more than the value of this woman's entire property and possessions. But here's the kicker. Because this was no big deal for me and because I had all the right tools and experience for such a mundane (to me) task, I was able to empower this group of guys to build this porch in six and a half hours. True story. When we got there the posts were in the ground and that was it. She had to look out her back window at a collapsed porch for years and in six and a half hours it all went away. No big deal. Same-old-same-old.
And so shortly after this picture was taken we all gathered on this porch and we were at that awkward part where it was time to say goodbye and no one quite knew how. So in a moment of wreckless abandon I asked her for a hug. Now that was a big deal (I’m starting to come around but at that time I was so NOT a hugger). Next thing you know she is crying and I am crying and all the other guys are giving her hugs and crying. And the world, in a tiny-but-nonetheless-significant way, will never be the same. Neither for her or for us. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been put into this place 150 miles from home to do the no-big-deal thing that I was made to do. But mostly I am grateful for the heightened awareness I gained from this experience. And now I can't help but wonder; what other significant things are we missing? What big deals are there, going on right now, whose "bigness" is drowned out by the mundaneness of our own personal no-big-deals?
True love happens when we forget about ourselves. When we just do what needs to be done or give what needs to be given and we don't care if what we do goes viral or how many likes and shares we get. We just do it. Because someone needs it. And it's no big deal. And "love builds up." And the world is changed. Now THAT’S a big deal.
I’m dedicating this post to Kenny. YOU, my friend, are a big deal. Till we meet again…