Really though, if one person remembers, it could change a life… it did for me. It was one statement that brought meaning to my life. And although I always did know there was a purpose for living and I always did know everything would end the way it should, sometimes I just needed a reminder; that reminder came unexpectedly in a bowling alley about two years ago….
Before that day every summer for as long as I can remember I returned to summer camp year after year, and each year I remember interacting with the challenge campers, a group of campers that have disabilities-both mentally and physically. Each is their own person, and year after year they return, happier then ever to have fun and to see old friends. One in particular I always remembered, but then again I don’t think I could ever forget him. He had one of the biggest smiles whenever he was at camp; and everyone knew that he liked three things: girls, fire trucks and the band Kiss. Rodney, he was always a great camper, although shorter than me, he held himself as taller than most.
It was mid-January when I was asked to help at the Special Olympics. When I walked in the first thing I noticed was the extreme joy and anticipation from the athletes. I was assigned a group to help by simply giving high fives and making sure they knew when to go. After countless high fives, hugs and “good jobs” my group was finished their games. As they went to get their metals, I helped give out lunch. Standing behind the drinks after a long day I just wanted to go home; but then he walked through the door. Smiling and getting his lunch, I knew that underneath his Olympics T-shirt was probably one of his many Kiss shirts. I watched as Rodney went through the line, he took his juice and walked around, just as I thought he had left I heard his voice, “Do you remember me?” A lump grew in my throat and tears swelled in my eyes; it wasn’t because I remembered him, but that he remembered me.
I guess that’s all we really need in life, not simply to be remembered, but to have someone acknowledge that they remember you. I was never really friends with Rodney; in fact, I was never his counselor either. I was always simply another person at camp the same time he was and yet he remembered me. I figured life is too short to not tell someone the impact they had on you, regardless how big or small. So thank you Rodney, for reminding me that every person that I talk to, every person that I am near- I impact. And they, in turn, impact my life forever. This I believe.