Small Choices Amidst the Crisis

Crises sometimes demand actions big and bold.  An Alamo stand.  A Dunkirk rescue.  A Selma march. 

But just as often, it is small, easy-to-miss choices that – cumulatively – turn the tide.  Think of the resolve of the British throughout the siege of London, digging out of the rubble brick by brick each morning.  Or the countless individual decisions to choose nonviolence that together wove the fabric of the Civil Rights movement.

This is true in all of life.  Yes, history’s spotlight most always falls on the moments of final decision.  But by the time a person, or a nation, reaches the great crossroads, most of the deciding has already been done — the product of countless little decisions that came before. 

By the time we reach life’s great crossroads, most of the deciding has already been done — the product of countless little decisions that came before.

More than anything else, it is our small, daily choices that ultimately forge the people we become and the legacy we’ll leave behind. 

So it is in the era of COVID-19.  Certainly, these times call for wise leadership and – in some cases – dramatic action.  But much of what this era represents – its daily character, how we’ll remember it, and the ways it will mold us, our future and even our entire culture – will be profoundly shaped by countless small decisions.

Many of these decisions no one else will see.  The smallest, and perhaps most consequential, begin in our thoughts.  Will I murmur complaint after complaint…or instead turn my thoughts toward gratitude?  Will I ruminate endlessly on what-if scenarios…or instead stand up and do the next right thing?  Will I turn to my screens each time boredom or anxiety knocks at the door…or instead go for a walk, call a friend, or breath a quiet prayer?   Will fear drive me inward…or will I seek to cheer and serve my neighbors in whatever ways I can? 

More than anything else, it is our small, daily choices that ultimately forge the people we become and the legacy we’ll leave behind.

These choices, many of them unseen, inevitably bubble up.  They dye our emotions and color the experience of those we’re quarantined with.  They spill across the street and out through emails and Zoom calls. Sometimes, they can spread even further, in kind words and acts of loving service and contagious goodwill.

All over the world, CAFO member organizations, churches and individuals are doing just that.  This is nothing new, just a continuation of the faithfulness they lived long before coronavirus became a household word. 

But those small acts take special meaning in a time of crisis and constraint.  For in crisis, little things can turn the tide — for individuals and families, and even entire communities.

The song “A Holy Moment” was written by Carlene Prince as the world fell under the shadow of COVID-19.  It poignantly names both the weight and the hope of all that we face together, of this moment, and God’s invitation to each of us amidst it all.   

Below is a short video of “A Holy Moment,” paired with clips and photos of people across the world making small-seeming choices that help turn the tide, each in their own way.  Some are those we’ve all experienced “together” through news and social media. Others come from CAFO member organizations serving near and far. Below the video, you’ll see more glimpses as well – of ordinary people making small decisions to live well in this holy moment.

And…if you’d like to explore further little things that make a big difference, join us for the CAFO2020 Conversation Starters May 6-8, 2020.

Young people volunteer in Ukraine to deliver household necessities to families in need.

Food delivery to the home-bound in India.

Hand-washing stations in Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Churches deliver “survival kits” and meals to foster families under the stay-at-home restrictions.

Pitch in to help with the yard work of foster families.

And judges even hold virtual foster care adoptions through Zoom:

In these “small things” and countless others, we see a deeper truth.
For at the very center of all things is the God who sees, honors and multiplies even the smallest gift.

As heaven cheers, we’d like to leave you with some celebration as well.