A few weeks ago the hospital I work for sent out an email asking for volunteers. We were participating in “Make a Difference Day” today by working at a local food bank. I asked several work friends to join but it ended up just being me.
Once inside, the director of the food bank gave a tour, explaining the process, where the food comes from, threw a bunch of staggering statistics about hunger and sent us to begin the day. She mentioned that she often gets asked how helpful it really is for groups like us to show up once a year and give a few hours. She said extremely. We bagged apples & oranges for school kids. We made bags of oatmeal for their breakfasts. We sorted food. We made backpacks for the kids with assorted meals that were kid prep friendly. Afterwards, we all just left. Climbed in our cars and drove away to our food filled residences. Well, some of us did. I drove to work and put in a few hours.
After working a few hours, I went with another friend to see the movie “Priceless.” It was remarkable. It is based on true events about a man that fights to save two women in the sex slave industry. My friend and I both began crying during the previews so by the time the movie was over, I felt like I had been crying for hours. I guess I had. Without going into the movie and spoiling it for you, because you need to watch it, I began thinking that he was just one man. What can he really accomplish?
I was reminded of this morning’s speech from the food bank director. That every volunteer helps feed those hungry babies. That my 3 measly hours helped to ensure that 380 backpacks were ready for this week. And that is nowhere near the 1500 they need for the handful of schools they are serving. As hard as we worked for 3 hours this morning, we barely scratched the surface of the needs of this area’s children. The 60 of us could have worked 8 hours and had them ready for the week with a decent dent in the process, but it would have required 60 of us for 16-20 hours to really get them ahead of the game. We will never see the face of the child that is eating our oatmeal, or feeding themselves dinner because mom is working, or God forbid, doing something awful. So what was the point of our time?
Well, I felt better about myself momentarily. Up until I started writing this even. At this point, I just feel like a self righteous pious pig but stick around. I’m not done.
So am I just self righteous & pious? No.
Can one person make a difference? Yes.
All these posts, every word, every comma, every time I tell you that I love you, are attempts to make a difference. Every time I give a hug, volunteer my time, give advice (solicited or unsolicited), I am praying my heart for the broken is showing. Every time I cry in the car or silently in my bed or while I’m sitting at work because my friends are hurting, I beg God to help me be the light. To be HIS light. To bring healing to those in need. To open my eyes to the needs and pains of others so that He can use me~however needed.
Do I think I have it all together and that I know best? No. I do not claim to have it all together. I am far from perfect. I make mistakes. I am messy. I can be a disaster. But I am also listening. To you. To God. To my past. To your past. To what God wants you to know about you.
Am I making the difference I hope to be making? I sure as heck hope so. I don’t think I’ve saved the world. But the mini impacts we each have every day still have the ripple effect. Every ripple creates more and more impacts going further, touching more and more lives. I will never know the full extent of my words, the hugs I give, the prayers I pray, the grace I show, the love I give. But even if I never saw one tiny change, even knowing I will never see one precious face eating the orange I packed today, I’m still going to show up for these moments.
Wait, if we are sharing our hearts, we are changing lives. They are more than moments, aren’t they? They are life events. They are extravagant celebrations. They are beauty. They are in the most simple form, love. And I know without a doubt that LOVE can change the world. One person at a time.
The amazing thing about our hearts? The more we pour out of them, the fuller they become and the more they hold. Go out and share your beautiful hearts. Make the difference you were created to make because someone is waiting for your impact to make their difference. One person can change the world.
Love you bunches.