Millions of people up and down the east coast were glued to The Weather Channel or their local weather app this past week trying to track the unpredictable journey of Hurricane Dorian.
As it approached a particular area, all the residents were encouraged to get ready. Board houses. Collect supplies. Evacuate.
Then brace for impact.
The simple definition of impact is the force (or impression) of one thing to another. In the case of a hurricane, it is destructive winds and rain colliding with people and homes and the underlying effects.
Impacts do not have to be destructive, however. In the context of our lives and our personal journey, we have many opportunities for beautiful and long-reaching impacts. Often times even without our knowledge.
Let me share a quick true personal story with you.
Many (many) years ago, while still in high school, I went out for a bit with a sweet guy named Preston.
I can't honestly say I remember every conversation or date in detail, and I'm not even sure what happened to stop them. Nothing bad or dramatic. Just adolescence at its finest I suppose.
But what I do remember is a gift he gave me. I think it was for my birthday, but don't make me swear to that. And at face value, it may not appear to be more than a trinket. It was a nameplate. With my name and a cute inspirational saying. It was the real deal, not a plastic toy, but obviously meant as a light-hearted gesture.
But it impacted me. Significantly. I can't explain it. It didn't hold magical powers or unravel any of life's mysteries, but it did give me HOPE. It was a tangible object that I could look at every day for encouragement and vision.
Even though I did not have the presence of mind to hold onto Preston, I did, fortunately, hold onto that gift. In all my many moves, travels, experiences, chaos and turmoil, it is a constant still to this day.
As fate, or Facebook, would have it, Preston actually reached out to me recently. Social media can be random at times. I was quite surprised and pleased to hear from him. Of course, one of the first things I told him was that I still had that present he gave me almost 37 years ago. (I had to do the math twice on that because that didn't seem possible.)
He didn't remember it.
What?? One of my most prized possessions and he didn't even remember buying it for me? How is that possible? Because it was simply a sweet gesture on his part. A small token of kindness. A fleeting memory, as was our time together.
He had no idea of the IMPACT he had on my life.
You see, my Hopefuls, that's how it works. And that's the beauty of it.
We can plan, organize and carry out elaborate exploits to help, benefit or cheer others on. And many times it works. And the reward is spontaneous.
Others times, we have no idea. A kind word. A helping hand. A shoulder to lean on; cry on. A thoughtful gesture. To family, to friends, to strangers.
You can call it paying it forward. Or random acts of kindness. It doesn't matter what you call it, just DO IT!
Be a good person. Be thoughtful. Be considerate. Look for ways to make someone's day better. Be purposeful in your words and actions. Positive in your deeds. To everyone. Not just those in your circle. Expand your circle.
MAKE AN IMPACT!
I love quotes and sayings. I try to post them on my various social media pages. I love the one that says you have no idea what another is going through, so just be kind.
Much of the influence in our world today says to be at odds, support conflict, make room for your views. Push ahead and everyone for themselves. That is destructive and divisive.
I challenge each of you to rise above those messages. It costs nothing to be considerate and gracious.
Like Preston, you may go years (decades), or your entire life and never fully know the impact you made on another. Do it anyway. You may never have someone come to you with thanks and appreciation for the thoughtful gesture you made. Make it anyway.
Leave this world, this day, this moment, better than you found it.
If we all did that, can you imagine the impact??
And as always...
Hope With Abandon
PS. Thank you Preston