'Faith the size of a mustard seed' - Denny Scott editorial
Last week, with the exception of a few hours Tuesday morning, I was out of the office almost the entire week due to a cold (which didn’t start out as mine).
On Saturday night, my daughter Mary Jane had a swab up her nose as we tested her for COVID-19 after she developed some pretty rough cold symptoms. While that test (and all subsequent tests) came back as negative, the cold was likely the worst one she’s had in years. She was out of school Monday through Thursday, and on Friday, and even on Monday this week, the lingering cough/congestion had me telling her to keep a mask on just to make sure no one was overly concerned.
As I’ve said before in this column, I’m blessed to have a job that lets me work from home when the need arises and I had to take full advantage of that last week, not just when Mary Jane was cuddled up on the pull-out couch recuperating, but also when she did what all good kids do and shared. She shared her cold with me, which I have to say was a pretty bad one (though it didn’t sideline me for as long as it did her; I guess that year and a bit of living isolated maybe weakened her fledgling immune system more than my tried-and-true one). So as she was on the bus back to school on Friday, I worked from home, fighting to keep myself upright and my eyes open.
Over the weekend I thought I was faring better, but a couple hours of seasonal work on Saturday morning sapped what little energy I had and left me near-comatose for the rest of the day. Sunday was much the same, with my energy leaving me mid-afternoon right after we finished preparing our trailer for the summer season (which left me apologetic to my wife as she ended up having to do a lot more work than she should have on Mother’s Day when I crashed).
Even on Monday, I was struggling with a lack of energy as the day wore on, and that was just from the creative work of writing and editing stories and photos.
The whole thing had me looking back on the past two years and being reminded of the fact that threats come in all sizes, and those sizes aren’t directly tied to how much of an impact they will have.
COVID-19, a microscopic entity, brought our world to a halt for months on end, just like this cold bug brought me to a screeching halt over the past week.
It reminded me of a few different experiences in my life when I realized that the smallest of things can change everything around them.
Maybe it was kismet that, last week, The Citizen had a photo of the clean-up of Camp Menesetung in the newspaper, courtesy of Ralph Watson. As a youngin, I attended that camp and while there are wisps of memories here and there about things happening at the camp (including sitting on the Camp Director’s stairs for a time-out or three), I have two very clear memories of the camp, both of which happened the same year, I think (or if they didn’t, they certainly should have for the purpose of my parable).
That year (and no, I don’t remember which it was) the theme of the camp was “Faith the size of a Mustard Seed” following Matthew 17:20 which partially reads, depending on your version of the Bible, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
That year, the water pump at the camp stopped working and, after spending a small fortune to repair it, the camp director was told the repair people discovered what had stopped the system from working: some kind of insect had gotten inside and stopped the whole mechanism from working. This tiny little bug, which some would likely consider insignificant, caused a mess of trouble that cost a lot of money to fix. The campfire story time that week kind of wrote itself.
We had a similar situation at the Scott house a few years back when our central air system was similarly sabotaged by an invading insect getting into an electrical component.
While all these examples are of small things causing problems, we have to remember that small actions can do the opposite and make the world a better place.
Whether it’s taking the time to explain a situation to my young daughter instead of just saying, “Because I said so,” (which I’ll admit I was tempted to do many times over the weekend as she recovered her energy while I lost mine), holding a door open or calling an old friend, the smallest of actions can make huge changes in the lives of those around us.
So whether it’s faith, kindness or even just basic human decency, remember that the smallest amount can have a huge impact on the world around you.