This blog post isn’t about romance. And it’s not about love, not in the way you’re thinking. But it is about love in the bigger sense, and being a loving, impactful influence in someone’s life.
Let me tell you a story, one you may have heard. The starfish story.
-A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”-
It just takes one person to make that difference. To be “the one” to someone.
By now you’ve seen the mini-series “13 Reasons Why”…or read the book, or heard the message of the show. The gist: a young girl commits suicide, then tells the story of 13 people and events that led to her making the ultimate decision to end her life. From that plot, the message I take away is this: You may not see the long term impact of your deeds. Good or bad. But there is an impact. Often more than you know.
I’m willing to bet that many of the people my patients speak about are unaware that their actions are being discussed in a therapists office. Often many years later.
You can be the one. That changes a life. Will you take that challenge and responsibility? Will you leave a positive or a negative impact on your world? How will you change a life?!
I am on the Board of Directors of Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services. I see and hear the stories of youth who need just a moment, just one interaction, that could steer their lives in entirely different directions than they are currently headed. And yet again, you don’t need to volunteer with traumatized, homeless, or runaway youth (but I hope you do!) You don’t need to make HUGE gestures. Because, as “13 Reasons Why” shows, and as I see every day on my couch, the smallest action by your standards may be the biggest thing to happen in a person’s life.
Now let me ask you to listen to someone else tell his story, of the impact one loving person can have on a person’s life. And after hearing his story, I challenge you to see the world differently, and value your impact on others. I want you, us, to think more about doing good works. It doesn’t need to be adoption or volunteering or charity. Just be a good person! That one time! You never know…