Have you ever been moved almost to tears by a small gesture that someone who cares about you has done for you? That’s what my sister and I call a “sandwich moment.” The name refers to the time eight years ago when my sister was in the throes of mom-hood and trying to juggle a hundred things every minute, and her sweet husband sent her with me to spend a Mothers’ Day weekend away in the mountains. For the drive up there, I packed us ham sandwiches. They even had lettuce and cucumbers on them, and they were neatly wrapped in foil.
When she opened the bag and took one out, her eyes filled with tears. She said that she couldn’t remember the last time someone made her a sandwich. We burst out laughing and ever since, whenever we offer small kindnesses to each other, which we often do, we call those “sandwich moments.” It’s one of the things I love most about my sister-that each of us notices when the other could really use a sandwich, and then we quietly make one and offer it up.
For me it’s totally turned around the phrase, “Give that girl a sandwich,” which has been a snide way to make fun of the famous and beautiful folks who are never too thin or too rich. When I think of giving someone a sandwich, I think of giving just a little bit of love freely and without strings attached. Yes, food is nourishing, and caring in itself, but the gesture is what means more to me.
It’s made me think about other people who quietly toil at work, in the world, among my friends and neighbors. Some of them are lonely, some of them are suffering, and some of them feel lost in this big, complicated world. My daughter lives in New York City and she shared that she really only began to feel at home when she realized that small gestures connect her with the millions of other people who live there. Holding a door, sharing a chuckle, helping someone when they drop something-these are little bits of loving kindness that we give and keep a tiny corner for ourselves, connecting us with other human beings that share our world.
The same feeling arises from giving to people far away too. Finding causes we care about and supporting them can create sandwich moments too. And in the place where we spend a lot of our time, at our jobs, if we can share these moments of kindness, we make the workplace a better experience for everyone. Because sandwiches, although they are quickly consumed, give rise to more sandwiches. The memory of that moment lives on and the person who was loved will share love. This is a short ride we’re on, in this world. I find that it’s really just a collection of moments and the more kindness we share, the happier we all are.
So share a sandwich moment today and spread a little ripple of love.
Photo on Foter.com