“I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa [Click to tweet.]
We don’t believe that we can, in fact, change our own world, let alone the entire world.
This week I want to share an example of how one person, one conversation, one ripple can in fact create tidal waves of positive impact. [Click to tweet.]
If you’ve ever heard my presentation, you know that perhaps the greatest hero from my story of surviving a childhood fire is Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck.
He repeatedly visited during my five months in the hospital, continued to deliver encouragement for years afterward and was extraordinarily generous to me always.
A question I am frequently asked by audience members is, “How did Jack know to visit you?”
The day I was burned the news of our fire and the seemingly insurmountable odds against a little boy’s survival spread like a ripple in the water. Years before social media, this tragedy went viral in our community. Neighbors, friends, and family members were the first to learn. They’d then share with others encouraging prayers and action for this family that lost a house and was likely to lose a child.
A family friend named Colleen Schoendienst got a call about the fire. She then called her dad and asked if he would keep a little boy from our community in his prayers.
That phone call changed my life.
Colleen’s father, baseball great Red Schoendienst, happened to be going to a charity event that night. He happened to be sitting next to his friend, a man named Jack Buck. And he happened to mention in passing that a little boy was not expected to live after being burned earlier in the day.
That was the extent of the conversation. But it was enough.
The following day, in a critical care room of a burn center, a little boy wrapped from head to toes in bandages, unable to move, speak, or communicate, was radically inspired when the voice of his childhood idol, Jack Buck, whispered into his ear, “Kid, you are going to live. You are going to survive. Keep fighting because John O’Leary day at the ball park will make it all worth while.”
It was a short visit, one that brought light into the darkest time of my life, and one that changed my world.
But it really wasn’t just Jack, was it? It was Red. Without his encouragement Jack would have never known, never visited, never changed me.
And yet, it really wasn’t Red, either. It was Colleen.
Without her making that phone call, her father never would have heard about the fire.
And yet, wasn’t the person really most responsible the unnamed individual who told Colleen? Wasn’t that really the person that facilitated the life-changing meeting between Jack Buck and me?
My friends, we have so much ability and opportunity in our lives to positively and permanently affect change around us.
You don’t need to believe that you alone can change the world.
Instead, my encouragement today is to embrace the truth that you can use your time, your words, your actions and your life to propel stones across the water. This simple action does in fact and always has changed the world. Starting with yours.
What ripple effect will you cause today through your words, actions, interactions? It can be big or little — but share with me and the Rising Above community below in the comments.