19 October 2011

Making an Impact

Recently I was reading articles on people who had made a difference in the world.  They had created organizations that helped thousands of people, led revolutions of women calling for an end to violence, sold most of their belongings to in-need people and then traveled around the country helping others, etc.  Their stories touched me.  But they didn't touch me in the way you'd expect.  While I was in awe of their ability to make such an impact on their world I was more left wondering what my legacy would be.  Statues are erected, scholarships and buildings are named, forests are dedicated to people who make large contributions to the betterment of society, the environment, even just for excelling at what they do (how many statues to athletes and artists are there?).  I will not short-change myself and say that I have no talents, nothing to contribute.  I may not have been a Tony award or Pulitzer prize winner, but I think I could have inspired and touched people more than I do now.

All that got me thinking about what I can do.  What impact can I have at this point in my life?  I thought all of this as I sat at Kara's bedside reading to her.  I realized that the impact I can have shouldn't be so selfish.  Wanting to touch all those people is selfish.  Wanting to be recognized for my accomplishments is selfish.  What's most important is upstairs in her bed "reading" the books I just read.  It's in her crib sleeping peacefully after a day filled with play and new discoveries.  My mom touched MANY people's lives and hearts simply by being herself.  She reached out to others and taught them valuable lessons just by showing them her own kindness.  No statues have been erected to her (unless you count her headstone).  There are no scholarships, buildings or forests bearing her name.  But she taught so many people simple but enduring lessons about love, compassion and acceptance.  She raised me to care and respect the earth and humanity.  She gave everything she could to her children and then gave some more.  So maybe that should be my legacy, my impact too.  To carry on those lessons and to bring them to my children and their friends.  To just be myself.  My own light, my own personality, can touch people.  As a mom I have the chance to make a huge difference in two lives, my children's.  I can teach them things to raise them up and show them all the possibilities of the world.  That is a power, a legacy that no one should take lightly or think little of.  Somewhere along the way all those great thinkers and doers had to have someone who taught them valuable lessons that helped them reach their great heights.  I'm slowly realizing that it isn't the height you reach that matters.  It's the work you do to lift others up to new ones.