Short people can make a difference

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By The Staff

At five-foot, one inch, I'm little. I'm not as little as Phyllis Gorski Houghton, but littler than Laura Isaacs - and she's little.

Years ago, Randy Newman wrote a song about short people. He said we have "little baby legs" and we "stand so low" and that big people like him have to pick us up just to say hello.

He said we've got "little cars that go beep, beep, beep" and little voices that go "peep, peep, peep."

As a little person, I also have abnormally little hands and tiny crooked fingers. I wear the ruby chip ring that my husband wore when he was maybe 3 or 4.

When I went for my Air Force enlistment physical, the guy who was about to draw my blood asked if the doctor saw my "deformity."

I was incredulous! "What deformity?" I asked.

"Um. Your hands."

Being little definitely has its drawbacks. I can't see a parade or a live snake handling demonstration without being up front. I can't see the dust on top of my fridge and I have to pull my car's seat way up so my short legs can reach the pedals.

On the other short, little hand, being petite also has its advantages, like being called "petite." Being little means being first in a size order line and put in front in a group photo.

It also means I'm able to hide in plain sight if I want to. I can be in the middle of a crowd and be unnoticed. It makes eavesdropping a whole lot easier.

I've always been little, and the older I get the littler I feel, not just physically, but other ways, too.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the bigness of the world - the vastness of poverty and need, even the need in my own community. It's overwhelming and it makes me feel helpless and impotent to do anything about it.

I so badly want to make a difference, but how? Where do I start? And what difference can a little person like me make?

My friend Tara heads the mercy ministry at our church. She and I talk often about how best to feed hungry people, and not just feed them, but help them to get out of poverty. We don't know how. There are so many - where do we even start?

The other night I saw a news report about a medical team that spent a week in a rural place, in Tennessee I think. They treated thousands of people for free, but had to turn away about 500 people waiting in line because their week was up.

What about the calls we get here at the paper, pleas for help after house fires and catastrophic illnesses? So much crime and poverty, hunger and abuse, desperation, need, despair.

What about the people who have plenty but who are spiritually poor? Not everyone embraces Jesus, and there's nothing I can do to change another person's heart or mind, and that makes me feel very, very little.

Too often my littleness becomes too big for me to handle. I forget God's bigness, his infinite enormity and how he can take whatever little I have and multiply it to serve his purpose.

Last week my pastor told a story about a little boy and a big farmer who let the boy "drive" his tractor and plow his vast field. My pastor said, "All his smallness was enveloped by (the man's) bigness." His point: The boy didn't do anything but hop on the tractor; the man did the rest. It was his field, his job to plow it, yet he invited the little boy to "help."

My pastor's sermon was in the context of being generous with our stuff, giving it away and trusting God to use it to further his kingdom and to care for his little ones who dare to risk. That doesn't just apply to giving away our stuff, but our very selves for the sake of the gospel.

"Our little lives make a difference," he said, "because they're wrapped up in God's bigness."

I walked out of church, with my little baby legs, encouraged that maybe being little was OK after all. God doesn't ask me to do everything, just what I can, and if he wants to, he'll make it big.