I buy a two dollar coffee on the way to work, a daily expense I swore I'd never fall into. But it is just two dollars, and the chocolatey, caffeiney goodness of it makes me believe I will make it through my overnight shift. And the drink in my hand shouts that I have made it out the door, have done (I hope) the sleeping, and the homework helping and the cleanup required before my departure. It is, at least in the moment, my reward for doing what needs to be done.
We are not always rewarded for our actions. Most of the time, we unlock a mailbox full of bills, not a mailbox containing a million dollars. Most of the time, our children have to do their homework because they just do, and we have to work or make dinner simply because those things need to be done. But then there is a treat after a good grade is brought home, or a hug when our home efforts are particularly appreciated. And suddenly we realize that a little reward--the one that costs two dollars, or even the one that costs nothing at all--goes a long way. Our kids don't make good grades just to get that afterschool treat, but they enjoy and remember the treat just the same. We don't do what we do for our families for that hug, but the hug sure feels good.
I buy a two dollar coffee on my way to work, and in that moment, my two dollar reward is all I need to go that little bit extra.
Sometimes, it doesn't take the million dollars in the mailbox (though I won't stop hoping for that!). Often, the difference between life and living is found in a two dollar reward. So we might as well drink it in--and enjoy it.