When can we start to make a difference in the world? Are we courageous enough to start with the tiniest of steps to make the difference? How do we begin to make a difference when the world seems too big and against any type of difference that is offered to it? These are all questions that every one of us has asked at least once in our lifetime. The answers seem too complicated and the work too much for just one person to accomplish on their own. I recently heard a story from a good friend of mine that reminded me we don't have to do hard or big things to make a difference in the world. It starts one tiny step at a time, and can be quite simple.
(This story was printed in the Reader's Digest and originally appeared in the September 1997 issue.)
The Daffodil LessonBy Jaroldeen EdwardsIt was a bleak, rainy day, and I had no desire to drive up the winding mountain road to my daughter Carolyn's house. But she had insisted that I come see something at the top of the mountain.So here I was, reluctantly making the two-hour journey through fog that hung like veils. By the time I saw how thick it was near the summit, I'd gone too far to turn back. Nothing could be worth this, I thought as I inched along the perilous highway."I'll stay for lunch, but I'm heading back down as soon as the fog lifts," I announced when I arrived."But I need you to drive me to the garage to pick up my car," Carolyn said. "Could we at lease do that?""How far is it?" I asked."About three minutes," she said. "I'll drive - I'm used to it."After ten minutes on the mountain road, I looked at her anxiously. "I thought you said three minutes."She grinned. "This is a detour."Turning down a narrow track, we parked the car and got out. We walked along a path that was thick with old pine needles. Huge black-green evergreens towered over us. Gradually the peace and silence of the place began to fill my mind.Then we turned a corner and stopped - and I gasped in amazement.From the top of the mountain, sloping for several acres across folds and valleys, were rivers of daffodils in radiant bloom. A profusion of color - from the palest ivory to the deepest lemon to the most vivid salmon - blazed like a carpet before us. It looked as though the sun had tipped over and spilled gold down the mountainside.At the center cascaded a waterfall of purple hyacinths. Here and there were coral-colored tulips. And as if this bonanza were not enough, western bluebirds frolicked over the heads of the daffodils, their tawny breasts and sapphire wings like a flutter of jewels.A riot of questions filled my mind. Who created such beauty? Why? How?As we approached the home that stood in the center of the property, we saw a sign that read: "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking."The first answer was: "One Woman - Two Hands, Two Feet and Very Little Brain." The second was: "One at a Time." The third: "Started in 1958."As we drove home, I was so moved by what we had seen, I could scarcely speak. "She changed the world," I finally said, "one bulb at a time. She started almost 40 years ago, probably just the beginning of an idea, but she kept at it."The wonder of it would not let me go. "Imagine," I said, "if I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished?"Carolyn looked at me sideways, smiling. "Start tomorrow," she said. "Better yet, start today."
So the questions we need to ask ourselves are:
1 - Who?
2 - How?
3 - When?
And the answers to these questions are
1- YOU!! You are the one to decide what difference you are going to make in this world. Remember the difference doesn't have to be big or create a fanfare. Focus on what your strengths are and decide to use those strengths to make the difference.
2 - One step at a time. There is an amazing old saying, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. This is sooo true if you are going to make a difference in the world. Take the smallest step towards change and KEEP AT IT. Your smile or kind words of encouragement can completely change someone's day for the better. Your example and courage to stand for what is right and good can be infectious to those around you. The point is, YOU have to be the one to make a difference in the world. If YOU don't choose to be the difference, the world will continue on as it always has and NOTHING will change for the better. At times, when you are really trying to be the difference, it will seem that things are getting harder and you just can't go on. That is the adversary fighting against you. He doesn't like change for the better. Fight him with every breath of your being and keep at it to be the difference!!!
3 - Start today! Even if you are over 90 years young you can make a wonderful difference in the world. One of my best examples of making a difference came from my grandmother who was 86 years young when she passed away. When she was alive, she wasn't very mobile and stayed home sitting in her recliner chair. From her chair she kept her phone close, to call people she felt inspired to call. She also kept her card/note making supplies handy. She would write notes of encouragement or send birthday greetings to help brighten someone's day. These weren't big things she did, they were what she did to help make the difference in the world.
I really loved in the daffodil story how the author said "She changed the world…one bulb at a time. She started... just the beginning of an idea, but she kept at it. Imagine…if I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished…". Well, you have the rest of your life ahead of you. Start TODAY to Be The One Who Makes A Difference!