Monday, October 09, 2006

Mother Teresa's drop in the ocean

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
- Mother Teresa, (1910-1997)

I prefer to think of myself as a drop into the ocean, one that enters from outside, but once there looks like the others.

If you have seen slow motion pictures of milk dropping into a bowl of milk or of water dropping into a bowl of water, you will recall that it makes a splash. Then it creates little waves that seem to go on endlessly.

While my birth didn't make much of a splash, the ripples that followed gained momentum through the years, as the tiny waves of a drop into the ocean or a bowl of liquid would develop.

The ocean itself would be little different if I had never splashed into it. But not so the world.

In my funbling and stumbling way, I have managed to touch the lives of many people. Some considered me a twit, an insignificant drop of protoplasm. Those people I learned to disregard, once I overcame my shock of rejection in my early years and pity later on. The waves I have generated in my life will never reach them. But then, they don't want to be reached because, despite their bravado and arrogance, they live in constant fear of being exposed as being imperfect or incompetent.

The lives of some people are better for their having known me. Most of those people I have not seen for years. Very few expressed any gratitude for what I did for them or for how much better their lives are for having known me. Word reached me from a few, sometimes in odd ways.

I gave them hope. A secret ingredient that many were lacking and few others they knew could give them. I instilled confidence in a few. They made incredible changes in their lives to become people they had not even dared to dream they could be earlier.

For the vast majority of people I have known in my life, I was but another stepping stone on their road.

When my little wave reached them, I was there when they needed someone.

I made a difference. I was there.

If you want to make a difference in the ocean of lives around you, be there when someone needs you. Better still, be there before they need you so that they won't stumble and have to grab onto you to avoid a fall.

Some will still be there for you when you need them. Not many, but enough.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to be there when you need life support.
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