from the blog

The Smallest Things Can Mean the Most

This blog is called Beacon & Joy because I lived at the intersection of Beacon and Joy Streets in Boston, and I always loved the name of that place. But it’s also called Beacon & Joy because I am always looking for beacons of light in otherwise dark times and because I have trained my eyes to focus on joy. This is the best way I’ve found to move through my own life. I also hope to offer a beacon and some joy to others. It makes me happy to share the things that make me happiest. It’s why I started blogging in the first place.

Over the past year, I have watched my own reactions to cruel and heartless things uttered by our President. I’ve had days when I was undone by them, when I spent the entire day trying to make sense of why someone would say something like that, much less the President.

He did it again yesterday. And this time I watched my own reaction.

I still felt the heartbreak that has come to feel familiar. But while my heart was aching, I thought about what I could say or do to make even the smallest bit of difference in my own small world.
This is what I said, on Facebook:

I believe part of the reason we are all here together is to lift each other up.
All of us. Not just the President. But I miss having a President who tried
to do this— to inspire and to life people up. And who saw it as part of his job.

We are all in this together. And all of us can probably remember a time when
a kind word or a thoughtful gesture made all the difference. Let’s fill the gap
where our President is so lacking. We are all One.


These beliefs are central to who I am. They are what I’ve believed for decades, but these beliefs have only been reinforced by the challenges life has sent my way and only deepened in the past few years, as I have watched with heartbreak as I have watched the Presidency reduced to the feather in the cap of a man for whom ego is everything.

I cannot change the President right now. That’s not a power I have, though I have fantasized of possibilities for doing so. But what I can do is step out into my day with the intention of finding beacons and joys, and of being a beacon and a joy.

Has it ever happened to you that you’re having what seems like the worst day ever and then someone is unexpectedly kind to you, and it changes everything? Me too. In fact, it happened just a few weeks ago. And in those moments I am flooded with gratitude and reminded of how big small actions can be. A smile. A kindness. A hug when you really needed one.

So when I feel this heartbreak, I’m heading out into the world armed with the things I do have at my disposal— my smiles, my kindnesses, my hugs. I know they can make all the difference.

Join me, will you? Let’s make this day a beautiful one, where we extend kindness and love to others, even in the smallest of ways.

The effect can be incredibly powerful. And you will be an antidote to the things that make our hearts ache. You will be a beacon and a joy. As you are.