This I Believe

Hannah - St. Ignace, Michigan
Entered on November 25, 2008

Making a Difference

In the fast-paced lives that we lead today, we need to remember to stop and care

about the people around us. Getting caught up in living our own lives, we often ignore the people whose lives we could impact in a positive way. These people might be the strangers that we pass by, the acquaintances whom we recognize but don’t know well, neighbors who live near us, or our very dearest friends. Let’s take the time to brighten the lives of these people.

Strangers go to and fro around us each and every day. Rather than ignoring them, or passing by them in silence, reach out to them with a smile, a simple gesture of good will, and common courtesy. The person who is a little slow to move on after a red light turns green could get a little understanding, rather than the sound of your horn as you impatiently try to move them along and get them out of your way. The person that you pass by on the street, in the hallway, or in an elevator may need a simple “good morning,” to be encouraged and uplifted.

Acquaintances whom you see on a regular basis, with whom you have no relationship, could be impacted if you take an extra moment to have a conversation with them. The waitress who pours your coffee may be stressed because her grandfather is dying. The attendant at the gas station that you visit regularly may need to know that you, too, once had problems with a cranky landlord. A coworker where you work may have a teenager who is in rebellion. You may be surprised to find that you can make the difference to a person in need. None of us has a perfect life, and perhaps what we have experienced could be shared with our acquaintances in a way that may be helpful to them. Neighbors may live next door to us, but they can seem miles away from us in many ways. In days gone by, the neighbor was counted on for helping you put up your barn, for borrowing that needed cup of sugar, or for running to the store for you when you were sick with the flu. These days, neighbors can live next door to one another and never meet. Take time to knock on a neighbor’s door. Bring them a batch of freshly baked cookies, or a note with a simple greeting. You might open the door to a new friendship which both of you need.

Finally, how is that friend of yours doing? Do you spend quality time with her, or do you keep on saying, “Let’s have lunch sometime”, but you never do. Your friend might put on a “mask” while around you. She might want you to think that her life is just fine, when really she is screaming on the inside for help. The very best friend that a person has is one who can get under that mask of self-protection. The friend who truly cares will take the time to say, “Hey, how are you really doing?”, and then will wait to see what the answer is. Be prepared for what this might bring. A true friend will need to be there to listen and help when a friend is in need. We must slow our lives down, take the time to care, and be there for one another.

Life is not like it used to be; people are busy with the many activities which take up their lives. Have a positive impact on the world around you, and brighten someone’s day. James 4:14 says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Take time to notice, to listen, and to care. Life is too short.