Every once in a while, I start to feel that touch of insignificance, that feeling inside that says "you are so small that you are nothing, and all that you do matters not one bit." It's kind of a sad feeling, one that somehow undermines what I do as a person. After all, I work very hard at what I do, and I try to help other people whenever I can--how can I be completely insignificant? How can the work that I do mean nothing?
answer is quite simple: the work that I do does mean
something. I don't do the work on a city-wide or state-wide
or nation-wide or world-wide level; no, I do my work on the
individual level, with the students who happen to be in my school
at any given time, with my step-children and wife, with my church,
in the classes that I take. My work isn't noticed by the
newspapers, and you won't see it on the evening news. You
won't hear people talking about it at the water cooler, and you
won't be reading about it in next month's Reader's Digest.
My work is like almost everyone else's work, and it's quite
beautiful just as it is.
involves helping my students resolve schedule conflicts and
school-related problems, and in the process teaching them how to
deal effectively with conflicts and problems on their own.
My work involves encouraging them, validating them as human
beings, showing them caring and love, and even setting them
straight when they're out of line every once in a while. It
involves congratulating them when they've done well and helping
them out when they've done poorly so that next time, they can do
involves encouraging my three step-children, buying them school
clothes and paying for college, helping them with school when they
need help, explaining some of the realities of life to them (when
they'll listen, of course!), being there when they need someone to
be there, making sure that they have a roof over their heads and
enough food to eat. My work is listening when they have
jokes or problems or stories and telling them my jokes or problems
or stories. My work doesn't involve judging them, but
letting them grow into the people they are meant to be.
is keeping the yard clean, replacing the old, worn-out windows,
mowing the lawn, planting flowers, fixing the garbage disposal,
cleaning the garage. It is trying to live my faith,
maintaining websites, praying, reading and learning so that I may
continue growing as a person, paying attention to the lessons that
life gives me.
will find a cure for cancer or Muscular Dystrophy. I will
not star in a film or throw the touchdown pass that wins the Super
Bowl. I will not appear on the cover of Time or Newsweek,
and I won't be able to build a beautiful new housing project to
help out lower-income people. That's not where my life has
been leading, and that's fine with me. I'm helping life out
by doing just what I'm doing, in my own small way, day after
day. What I do does make a difference, and even the smallest
difference can grow into a large difference before I know it.
those moments of insignificant feelings come along, I remind
myself that I am significant, and that there are people who
benefit from the contributions that I make to life. I'm not
touching stadiums full of people at a time, but I'm touching
deeply, and unless I keep that in mind and respect that fact, my
touch will be weak and almost even useless. I want the touch
of each small task in my life to be as profound as it possibly can
be, and the only way I can be sure of it is to be sure that I
respect each small task for exactly what it is: part of my
life's calling, part of the contribution that I make to the
harmony of the universe.
know that you contribute just as much, if not more, to the harmony
of the universe, and I thank you for all that you give to this
world--all that you have given, and all that you shall give!