One pie. That’s what I had planned. That’s all I had planned.
It was early September when I was invited on Facebook to join Pie It Forward, a group of people who bake or buy pies to donate to the Buffalo City Mission for distribution to families in need for Thanksgiving Dinner. It had been years since I made a pie, but I could definitely bake one, especially for such a great cause. I was starting to get excited about it. Then I saw other posts on the Facebook event page. “Count me in for 10 pies!” one person wrote. “Ten pies, coming up!” another wrote. Someone even pledged 30 pies.
One pie. All I had to offer was one measly apple pie.
I messaged the coordinator, worried that my offering was too feeble, to small to even matter. “Any offering is beautiful,” she wrote back to me. Point taken. I made my apple pie with love and humility and compassion. “You will make a family of six very happy,” she said when I posted a photo of my finished product.
See that one family didn’t know that someone else had donated 10 pies. To that one family, perhaps my apple pie was the dessert they otherwise wouldn’t have had on our national day of gratitude. It was just one pie to me. It was the pie to someone else.
It’s not the first time I was afraid that I was giving too little. Not the only area of my life, either.
Once I just could not finish a swim workout. I was training for a triathlon and desperately trying to improve my swim, but my head just wasn’t in the game. I was having relationship issues at the time, was sleep deprived, and after 800 yards got out of the pool. I told my coach, who promptly told me to be sure I recorded my 800 yards in our shared training log.
“But I didn’t finish the workout,” I said, dejected.
“Eight hundred is not a zero,” she replied.
How many times had I not acknowledged what I had done because I thought it wasn’t enough? How many times have I declined to offer generosity — whether it be money or time or things — because I thought what I had to offer wouldn’t make a difference?
But whatever we offer does make a difference. What will my one pie, or my small donation, do to help a person or an organization? It’s one pie more than they had before. It’s $5 or $10 or even $1 more than they had before. And the small donations, they add up. Ask anyone who has tried to fundraise.
I’ve learned in running that something is better than nothing. Always. What will 1 mile do? Well, it will clear my head, get my heart pumping, and make me feel better. And isn’t that worth it?
What can you offer on this #GivingTuesday?