“How do you keep this garden so beautiful?” I asked my neighbor and beloved friend, Maryann. Her response was always the same “I do a little here and a little there. I don’t do it all at once.”
We think that to make a difference in this world we need to do something huge, life changing and dramatic. We think we should join the Peace Corps or go on a mission trip. Then we decide that it is just too much for us at this point in our lives. The thought of changing the world becomes overwhelming. We become discouraged and we say “I just can’t change the world.” Then we walk away with whatever passion once burned completely extinguished within us.
The truth of the matter is this: we just need to do a little here and a little there, but not all at once. We are so accustom to instant gratification that it has become a part of who we are in all ways. When we want to change the world it is no different. We want to change the world right now in a big way. What we don’t realize is that we have been changing our world in small ways since our birth.
The little here and little there are so little at times we don’t ever see their effect but indeed they have an effect; as a child when you smiled at a stranger you changed their day, when you asked that lonely child to play you changed the course of his/her life, when you hugged your brother instead of hitting him you formed a bond, when you said your prayers before bed you strengthened a relationship, when you did your homework and tried your best you learned perseverance and dedication, when you fell in love for the first time you opened your heart and you both learned about love. All of your life in small ways you have been making a difference and with each act of kindness you added to the change. With each understanding glance you gave hope to a stranger. With each day that you work to put food on the table and support your family you teach your children how to live. Not even the saints did it all at once. They did it a little here and little there over the course of their life time. Many never realized the impact their existence had on others.
So when the passion and desire sparks a flame in your heart to change the world and make a difference do not become discouraged because you cannot move to a foreign land to do mission work for a year. Instead do something kind in that moment; send a sweet note to a friend, email a colleague a compliment, hug your child, smile at a stranger, commit to one volunteer action for that week; a charity walk, a donation something to help someone else. Maryann lived her life in this way. The little bit here and there added up to a life that influenced so many others and literally changed our world for the better.
Today do a little here. Tomorrow do a little there. Remember you don’t have to do it all once.
Copyright 2012 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp