I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference. ― Ellen Goodman
My friend Nikki posted this status yesterday on Facebook.
Thing that this mom was not ready to hear when she picked her little boy up from his 2nd day of school….”Mom, I met a girl!” What??…..I’m in trouble!
I know her son. I know him well and yes, Nikki is in trouble. Preston is a charmer, sweet, innocent, and makes an impact on those he meets, yet he is only five years old. I know this because I am his Sunday school teacher. My face lights up when I see him. I am constantly correcting him too. “Preston, stop jumping off the chair.” “Preston, this is not the WWF.” He’ll flash that little smile and say, “Ok, teacher.” Then he is off doing it again, but I love him all the same.
I know the pain Nikki is feeling, because a few months back, I met a boy. It was on the second day of his job actually. I did not run home excited about meeting him. I ran home crying. I knew he was trouble the moment I laid eyes on him. He was too much for me to handle. He would just show in my office unannounced. He would jump in the elevator with me and say “Where are we going to lunch?” In my head, I said, “Who is this ‘we’ business? Last time I checked, I did not invite you to lunch.” That wouldn’t be the only time he showed up uninvited.
On one random Friday night, a girlfriend and I were grabbing a late dinner. When lo and behold, look who walked in? That boy. I think our mouths both dropped when we made contact. As you can expect, he just pushed his way in, had a seat, and took a sip of my drink.
I didn’t know if I was coming or going. He made me nervous and often words failed me. I didn’t like this situation and I wanted out. Clearly, he did not comprehend my non-verbal queues to leave me be so I tried using my mouth instead.
Being outside of work, there was no need for professionalism. I could get straight to the point. I told him he was too good to be true and a bull shitter (pardon my french). My words didn’t phase him either. As you might expect, on Monday morning, he was standing in the doorway of my office saying, “What are we doing for lunch?”. This boy was here to stay whether I liked it or not.
His efforts to prove me wrong succeeded. He won me over and I let him in. A beautiful friendship began to blossom over casual drop-ins and lunch at Harris Teeter. As time went on, I learned there was more to him than just good looks and charm. There was something substantial within.
As his layers began to peel back, there stood a boy who longed to be loved and accepted. Life swept him up and carried him through obstacle after obstacle. He had the scars to prove it. But through it all, his love and care for others was unscathed. He had a heart of gold. Any time day or night, he is just a phone call away. If you need a laugh, he’ll show up with a goofy “knock knock” joke. He can’t stand to see you cry. If you need a ride, he’ll pick you up and even open the door for you. He would move heaven and earth to be where you are and give you what you need.
Not only has he shown up in my time of need, he has inspired me to seek the truth and to find the good in every situation. He has restored my faith in men. Considering my opinion of men is that of a bottom dweller, this is a monumental feat.
I watch him tirelessly fight to be with his children even though he faces set back after set back. I watch him give when he often doesn’t even have a dime to his name. I watch him easily be manipulated by his children when the disciplinarian in me wants to scream, “NOOOO!”. Let’s face it. He dissolves into a pile of mush concerning his kids. It’s so refreshing 🙂
I often wonder if he is sure of his worth. I pick up clues here and there. To be honest, I don’t think he has any idea of the impact that he makes on the lives he encounters. He is humble that way. Although this boy exudes confidence in some areas, he is insecure all the same. Whatever you do, don’t tell him he smells like sweat. He bruises easily. I have spent weeks trying to heal this wound 🙂
If you were to meet a girl, you would find that behind her strength and confidence stands a girl who longs to be loved and accepted too. She struggles with her own worth as well. She too has walked a long road of hardships and has many scars to prove it. It’s the thread that holds this boy and girl together.
She hopes by sharing her story, she can inspire, motivate people to seek the truth, to climb higher, and to believe just like this boy has done for her. If she could make a fraction of an impact he has made, the world would be truly better.
So I ask you, “What are you doing to make a difference?” Have you shared your story? Have you shared your heart? Have you simply shown up?
Whatever you do, whether it be big or small, it will make a difference. It sure has for this little girl. If you are struggling and think you have nothing to give, no worries, goofy “knock knock” jokes will do 🙂