Every single person alive today has the potential to make a positive impact upon the world. No background is sufficient to negate this potential.
My cousin Matthew makes a positive impact upon the world in a very subtle way. He is such a special person that he makes the world a better place every single moment he is alive. Matthew is a miracle: every passing minute of life for him is a gift; every moment of joy is a blessing.
As a very independent person, I find a great deal of satisfaction and sense of self in taking care of myself. Therefore it is impossible for me to imagine what life is like for Matthew, as a mentally handicapped and machine-dependent person. However, every time I see him, I smile because he is there, and every time I help him, I get a greater sense of satisfaction than ever, and every time I see him smile, I realize that there is more to life than daily life. For Matthew, life is that moment. When he is happy and smiling, he is only living for that moment. He just feels me stroking his cheek or he can only hear the music by his ear. He is completely wrapped in that time, and the moment becomes everything.
The best feeling in the world is when I make Matthew smile. He has this great big grin, and he holds his hands up in fists like he has just won a marathon. It reaches to his eyes. As he smiles, I look around. I study the faces of my mother, father, sisters, grandparents, and Matthew’s nurses. These are the faces that I know and I love. These are the faces that make me smile and make me cry. These are the faces of my family. In every eye is Matthew’s glint of triumph. On every face is Matthew’s mischievous smirk. In every heart is Matthew’s unyielding vivacity.
It is this smile that reminds me that I can make a positive difference in the world. If Matthew can be so elated, and if he can invoke that joy within me and my family, then anything is possible. Anyone can make the world a better place.
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