Imagine you have lived a long and full life and now… at this very moment, you find yourself at the “pearly gates.”For sure you won’t be asked which school or office you went to or how many cars or houses you had or even how many kids you’ve raised. Instead you’ll be asked whom did you help? How were you of service to others? Have you made a difference in someone’s life?
There are several reasons why we want to make a difference in someone’s life. Some of them I’ll enumerate here…
To uplift and build up others… meaning to encourage, exhort and stimulate a person to positive action. In one of my trips around the Philippines I met someone who really made a difference in my life. We met in one of our guest houses and talked of almost anything under the sun. One statement he made really made a deep impression on me. This statement was taken from the book, The Prince and the Pauper and it goes like this: “what is essential is invisible to the naked eye.”This declaration taught me to place things in their right perspective, propelled me to reorder my priorities and motivated a positive action on my being to make me a better me.
To make amends for past mistakes… I can just look back and feel bad when the person who brought me up died and I wasn’t there to see her through her suffering though I could have chosen to be there. I wasn’t there because I was in Singapore hooked up in some job which I could easily have given up for the sake of my abuela. I wasn’t there because I allowed my fear of watching her die become more powerful than our love and concern for each other. Now I could never change the past but I could create a different present. Hence, when people closest to my heart seek my very presence in times of need or distress as one may call it, I go out of my way as possibly as I can to be with that person and perhaps ease some of the pain and worries he or she might be going through. I just pray that God will help me through the fear of dealing with people in deep pain.
To help others get through rough times…I can still remember one morning when a friend came in looking as if he were Atlas, carrying the whole world on his back. I approached him, smiled and asked, “Albert, what’s wrong, can I help?”He looked back at me, his face lightened, smiled back and said, “Oh thank you, just what I needed to perk up my morning. Seeing you and that smile had just lifted some load off my shoulders.”That was flattering; I never realized a smile could really do that. The feeling that I had somehow eased some of his burden is tremendously gratifying.
For an opportunity to make friends….It was one summer and I was attending a seminar. Come break time, the speaker approached me and said, “You must be wondering why I was looking at your direction most of the time. Well, it was that smile .I felt so inspired that I am goaded to better my lecture.” Ah ah.. that magical smile is at work again. Now I know the value of a smile… it costs nothing but creates much… it enriches those who receive without impoverishing those who give… it happens in a flash but the memory of it sometime lasts forever… none are so rich that they can get along without it and more are so poor but are richer for its benefits.
Making a difference in someone’s life need not require hard cognitive abilities nor is it expensive. Rather it only needs a heart that cares and a spirit inspired to create a positive change. To the beneficiary, a mere act of kindness or generosity can make their day. It can be some precious moments spent with someone or simply listening without judgment or sharing a valuable information or skill. It can also be a warm smile, a pat on the back or a simple word of wisdom. Or in our modern, busy and high-tech world, it can be just a simple text message, a warm hello or returned phone call or an answer to emails. Whatever it is, freely giving of yourself can make a difference in someone’s life. And what makes it rewarding is that it makes you feel good about yourself too.
Now, think and reflect, how did you make this world a better place to live in? Have you made a difference in someone’s life?