My friend Amy shared a story with me about the impact that we leave with others. It was a raw story, filled with emotion, about how the effect of our words and actions leaves a ripple effect in the lives of others. It was about a moment in time that won’t be forgotten and about the effect actions a stranger had on her life. One encounter, and yet, a life of remembering it.
So often I race through life unaware of the ripple that I’m leaving. I’m short at the store. I respond to my kids with annoyance. I scowl as I drive down the road late. I ignore holding the door because I’m focused on my own agenda. I complain about all that isn’t going well and miss seeing the good.
Deep down, I don’t want to leave a trail of negativity. In fact, I write so much about joy and seeking it and actively finding it because in that is a posture of the heart that embraces the positive. This world is full of negative – from the news, to sickness, to financial situations, to relationships – that there needs to be an effort to live more positive. Awake, in a way. It’s this recognizing of the fact that we’re not in this world for ourselves. As soon as we begin to look at this world through the lens of just me then we lose the reality of the impact we have on the lives of others.
What if we held that door for that woman racing into Target? What if we smiled more when we paid for our coffee? What if we got to know the names of the baristas at Starbucks? What if we paid for the coffee for the person behind us? What if we helped bag someone’s groceries who was trying to deal with a two year old? What if we intentionally said something kind to those we meet? What if our words were tempered with grace instead of cynicism? What if we instead of life focusing just on me it’s more on we?
Little things matter.
There’s a reason I write about the little things – it’s because those little things are really the big things in life. They are often the start of the ripple. It’s powerful when we become aware of the little things and begin to appreciate them with deserved appreciation. Those little things are the normal things – the moments in life that we overlook so often, but that truly does matter.
My challenge to you today? To look for the positive, the good in life, and to be a person that changes lives. Maybe it’s in the little things – the simple smiles and sweet words – or maybe it’s in a big dramatic way. You have the power, the choice, today to make a difference. I believe in you.
It can be in doing life and reading an extra book. It can be in giving our kids the benefit of the doubt. It can be thinking of the good in people first. It can be in simply being a person who listens. Those things matter – it’s the power in the moment when you choose to look beyond just you and see the world full of people where so many just need a breath of grace or joy or I believe in you.
Look for the positive. You and I and the next person are truly blessed with each day that we are given to live. We’re blessed with normal. We just need to remember it. Remembering that will set our minds – it will set the target. If our target is to be a generation of people that gives others grace and looks to the good then we are truly powerful. We’ll have days where we mess up, oh my, I’ve got plenty. You can read my archives about failing, and when I forgot to say yes, and on and on and on. But, you can also know that my heart is about believing in people, believing in you, and empowering you and me to know that what we do every single day matters.
In a world of so much harshness it needs more good.
Make a choice today. Look for the good. Be positive. Give yourself grace.
It starts with you and me and then next person and the next.