We live in a broken world. Every time we turn on the television or peruse news feeds, pain, suffering, and negativity lead the headlines. Not a week goes by where we don’t hear about riots, mass murders, starvation, or abuse; our world is filled with so many people in so much need. If you’re like us, this often feels overwhelming. With so much hurt at every turn, it’s easy to feel defeated – to feel as if nothing we say or do makes a difference.
Then we hear a story of a man or woman who has started a nonprofit equipping people in third world countries with food, water, homes, and educational resources or a team of individuals raising millions to combat homelessness through shelters, counseling services, and job placement programs. Our hearts swell with hope because someone out there is actually making a difference. But while we are encouraged that people are fighting against the darkness, there is a lingering feeling that what we do still doesn’t matter, because we aren’t feeding starving children or building homes for the homeless. This lie can subtlety work its way into our hearts and minds, and if we aren’t careful, the lie becomes truth because we stop doing the things that matter – because for some reason we believe we aren’t enough.
If we want the world to heal, for hope to rise, we must understand that no matter how large of a platform a celebrity has or how world-changing an organization is, a person’s legacy isn’t built on grand acts. It is the culmination of all the little things we do that makes our lives worth living, this is how we fulfill our purpose. The legacy we pass on to future generations is who we are, how we live our lives in the day-to-day: the way we treat a waitress, the times we acknowledge service men and women for their contribution, the moments we look a grocery clerk in the eyes and ask her name. These little things in everyday situations carry weight, they’re significant — because no act of love goes unnoticed and no act of compassion is futile. There are a million moments in each of our lives where we have the opportunity to bring joy or pain, light or darkness, heaven or hell to others through the words we say and how we say them; through the things we do and how we do them. Each one of us has significance, because each one of us has the power to bring love and compassion to the lives of each person we meet.
Yes, the world needs nonprofits that build freshwater wells in villages in Africa or equip underserved communities with medical resources, but living a life in a way where we actively seek opportunities to love in simple yet profound ways, is as, if not more important. Every day is filled with opportunities to positively impact our friends, families, significant others, children, and strangers — because every single act leaves a mark on the lives of those around us, good or bad. Every decision, every word leaves an imprint on others, but we often fail to notice these imprints because we don’t appreciate the influence we have on our world.
Who we are on a day-to-day basis is the greatest testament to what we believe. The way we treat others, and the intentions behind our actions undoubtedly leave impressions on those we encounter.
Every one of us has remarkable power and influence. Understanding this is the first step in making this world a better place.