March 13 2022
Do you remember the story about the shoemaker and his elves? It is a story about a humble man, a shoemaker who works so hard but cannot get all his work done, but at night, these “little people” come into his shop and complete all the work and fix all the messed up boots, that he was unable to finish fixing.
What I love about this story is “the little people” because even though they seem invisible, they are not. I love that even though they work as hard as the shoemaker, they do not try to take credit for the good that they do, they just do it because they see the goodness of the shoemaker and they want to give good back to him.
The little people take delight in the good being expressed in the world, and the world takes delight in them as well. They do not give their help hesitantly, or give it to get paid because they already have jobs in the day and they do their extra work to help, at night. In the end, I believe that, in gratitude, tiny little outfits were made and left for the “little people”, and they put their new things, danced and were even more joyful.
My dad loved “the little people” and he always was teaching my sisters and I about those “ideas” like the little people, not by drilling scientific facts into us, but by seeing life as fun and exciting and interesting. He did this by awakening questions in our thinking and then inspiring us with stories that challenged any ordinary person’s behavior, and replaced mundane stories with stories of wonderfully stellar characters or “little people” who displayed heroics.
I talk to the children in my life about “the little people” as well, and about the “invisible” things that they do, using dolls, toys and stories to delight them. The little people are alive and well in my home. And I am grateful for classic stories, books, and storytellers, who to keep the magic of good people and their works, alive. The appreciation for “the little people” or that which we may not necessarily be able to see with our eyes, (like the Easter bunny, Santa Claus or the tooth fairy) continues to make bright the eyes of childhood.
To my dad, “the little people” were frequent visitors at work, in his office…where they left treasure troves and treasure hunts, jokes, fun notes and gifts, and their antics were then communicated to my sisters and I, his daughters when he got home at night. We wanted to know each and every thing about the heroics of “the little people” and they were memorable to us as well as lovable and precious.
When I was in middle school, and my dad ran as a republican for U.S. Congress in North Carolina, a heavily democratic state, “the little people” were there, in his talks to the country folks we met, as we rode in caravans, singing “vote Herbert Howell, your kind of man”. My dad talked about the little people to all those he visited, and the little people became symbolic and grew, as we grew, to mean people who are good and who do good, but perhaps seem to be insignificant, invisible or without a voice. Those who pay attention to good, like my dad and his daughters and wife, however, hear them.
My dad not only heard the little people, he celebrated them. He made them real to his five little girls and his lovely wife Cleta. The “little people” we knew years ago, and still know today, are real because the good that they do is as real as the story of the shoemaker and his elves, and my dad had this wonderful expectancy of good, BECAUSE of the little people.
Each time I see a tiny baby, or an innocent child, or a gentle soul sitting on a park bench, or a hard working trucker, or a lone cowboy, or a housewife homeschooling her children, or all the people that no one particularly pays attention to, I know I am getting to see a glimpse of some of God’s most perfect creation, “the little people”.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Thank you God for the little people, and for giving me parents that helped me to see them, respect them and love them. And when we realize we can believe in and trust in the little people, whom we cannot see, and the good that they do, we find we can believe in God, whom we also cannot see. because good is the evidence of things unseen.