Four years ago today, I got up early to drive to the airport to pick up my sister-in-law, Dana.

Round-bellied, I had spent Christmas afternoon taking down our Christmas tree and getting our home in order.  My two young daughters didn’t seem bothered by the day we spent packing up and putting away. As we worked, we talked about the baby born on Christmas day —the greatest gift of all — and about the gift of another baby, the one we would soon welcome to our family.

Dana had called me several weeks before with an offer of help during the birth of our new daughter. I hesitated, not because I didn’t want or need the help, but because I knew her trip would be costly to her, as she would need to leave her own two daughters during the busy Christmas season.

But: so happy I felt when I picked her up, as we loaded her bags into my van. I’ve known Dana since I was twelve years old; she married my brother when I was only 16. And: there she was, with me as I prepared for one of the most momentous days of my life.

We spent a windy morning wandering around Chicago’s Art Institute, then enjoyed a leisurely lunch together before returning to my home. That evening, we went downtown again, to see a show. How surreal it felt to ride the El home, late at night, with only hours before my daughter’s (scheduled) birth.

Dana stayed overnight with me and my new sweet daughter so my husband could be at home with our other girls. She stayed with the girls during the day, and even taught my oldest how to write in cursive (she still talks about it.) Before she left, she made several delicious meals, meals that would sustain us over my first days home from the hospital.

Dana did everyday things, with love and kindness, making a huge difference for me and my family.

Her kindness to us and the fun moments we shared are sharp memories in a time that is otherwise a blur. Because of that, whenever we tell the story of Maggie’s birth, Dana is one of the main characters.

When we choose to make a difference in others’ lives, we weave our stories with theirs and our kindness or service becomes a bright thread of grace in their lives, inextricable and enduring.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of life I want to live, colorful and connected, one where I find ways everyday to make a difference.

Tell me something! Who has made a difference in your life by doing everyday things with kindness? What can you do — today — to make a difference in someone’s life?

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

The Results of Servant Leadership.