How do I make a difference? How do I change the world?
At my age, I’ve figured out it’s not by leading the white horse into battle, leading my armies into the fray and conquering Europe.
But, then again, it is. I just lead my troops and fight my battles in a different way.
I am an instrument of social change. I have a voice, and I have a presence, and I talk with other people all the time.
I make my changes one person, one conversation at a time. It may be in the line at the grocery store, or at the coffee shop, or visiting with one person for a while, just the two of us, talking about life, and talking about choices. It might be by giving a book, sending a poem, or a note of encouragement, showing someone they matter, that they are important, valued, and yes, even loved.
It is the power of listening, really listening. Listening with your judgment and your ego parked at the door, listening with your heart, and simply offering to love people for who they are, deep inside.
Labels don’t mean much to me, nor does the style of someone’s hair or the fashion of their clothes. I like to look deeper than that, deep into someone’s heart, and to hear what is really on their mind, what is really going on in their soul.
The town I live in isn’t rocked by a huge earthquake when I have those quiet little conversations, when I open my heart to someone and really listen, and really have a conversation about the things that matter to them, and matter to us all. Buildings still stand and volcanoes don’t spew lava and smoke when we talk, but lives change.
Real change comes from a change in attitude, having a sense that I can change myself, my thinking, and that what I do in this world, that how I treat myself and how I treat others really does matter.
What I decide to do today, and how I will approach the problems and issues of the day, really does matter. I am the one in charge, what I feel and what I value is truly important.
Oh, I know that there are millions of other people in the state where I live, and hundreds of millions more in my country, and about six billion people around the world. Those are numbers I can’t really comprehend, and its pretty darned hard to have coffee with each one of them.
But, I can have that deep one on one conversation with myself, and with someone else. That’s manageable, that fits in my calendar, my to do list for the day. I can take the time to open my heart and really listen to someone, really hear what they are saying, and to value them for who they are, to weigh their soul against all the gold and jewels in the world, to really say that I value them for who they are, and for who they are becoming.
It is all about my intention, what I seek in that conversation, in that time together, one person with one person.
“You can do it,” are the magic words. “I believe in you.”
“I care about you,” said with love, and often, said simply by your presence at the table with them, showing up and being part of their lives, listening with your whole, loving heart.
Does this win the Battle of Gettysburg, or turn the tide at Waterloo? Do I ride my white horse up the steps of the royal palace and claim victory for the people?
I don’t need to win those kinds of battles. But, I do need to empower myself to truly live my values, and to help others see the potential they have to live decent, meaningful lives, free of the demons and darkness that often clouds their souls.
“Yes, you can,” is my battle cry, my shout for leading the revolution and winning the war.
Such an encouraging entry, Neal! When we hear the news every day, and think about what the world is going through, sometimes it seems overwhelming to try to get anything good done that will make any difference. Your piece here reminds us that every little bit makes a difference. Thank you!!