Kindness does not to be anything huge. Sometimes it is the most simplistic of things which have life changing effects. This really hit home for me while reading an excerpt from a book called Essential Sufism, by editors James Fadiman and Robert Frager. They present a story about being kind to an ant.
"Service does not have to be great or dramatic. Years ago, the mother of one of the Ottoman sultans was devoted to charity. She built mosques and a great hospital and had public wells dug in parts of Istanbul that were without water. One day, she went to watch the construction of the hospital she was having built, and she saw an ant fall into the wet concrete of the foundation. She lifted the ant out of the concrete and set it on the ground.
"Some years later she passed away. That night she appeared to a number of her friends in their dreams. She was radiant with joy and inner beauty. Her friends asked her if she had gone to Paradise because of all her wonderful charities, and she replied, 'I am in Paradise, but it is not because of those charities. It is for the sake of an ant'."
I wanted to share this story because so often we focus on the visible acts of kindness, like buildings and scholarships that were funded by large donations. Those are awesome. However, sometimes it is the littlest of things that make a difference in a person’s day. Like the ant that was picked out of concrete. Maybe it was the door you opened for someone, the smile you gave someone, the offer to take an envelope to the mailbox, a cup of cold water on a hot day. The awesomething about kindness is that it does not matter who wealthy or poor you are, kindness does not cost anything. It does not cost anything to smile, say hello, please, thank you, give someone a hug, or hold their hand.
So never underestimate the spiritual significance of small acts of service. Life is filled with opportunities for us to lift ants out of concrete, we just need to be open to the opportunities.