I just experienced a great lesson in mis-communication. It took me back to all the discussions we used to have in our eighth grade social studies class (before studying American history each year) regarding the number of wars our country has been involved in and the reasons for them. We all agreed that two things in life propel people into war….greed and mis-communication.
The title of the blog was supposed to read “Little Things Matter.” But just as I was about to start typing …I heard a hugh BOOM! And yesterday afternoon’s thunderstorm began. I was afraid the lightning might hit the computer…so I quickly typed the title – “Little Matters” and turned it off.
After the storm turned into a wonderful slow rainy afternoon (raindrops are a gardener’s favorite musical notes) I turned the computer back on and without giving the title a second glance… started in on my thoughts about the importance of small things in life and the big role they play in helping each other through life.
Once I realized the mistake…I decided to leave the title just the way it was originally. It represents the antithesis of everything I believe but we do learn from a wide exposure in life to people and philosophies that differ from our own.
Quote honestly, however…(personally)…the “It doesn’t matter” people are the most challenging people to be around. I just want to shake them!
You know them too…they are the “shruggers” (when you ask how their day was or what they would like to eat… they reply “It doesn’t matter” or they simply “grunt” and send out a dismissive wave to any questions directed at them for a response.
I have never understood how people can go through life with the “It doesn’t matter perpetual teenage” attitude. Their indifference to life makes me angry…personally I take it as an “affront” to everyone who is fighting everyday for life…for beautiful, mind-boggling life!
“What do you mean it doesn’t matter?”….of course it does! Everything in life that happens MATTERS!!!
I was going to add the word “IDIOT” but my anger (that just came out of left field) is over. The quiet, peaceful drops of rain are lulling me back into a very good place again. I think some of this repressed anger goes back to those students, who at thirteen, had already become a “It doesn’t matter” human being. I would go home each night feeling deflated over those handful of students that I just couldn’t seem to reach…no matter what I tried.
How in the world did these young people get to such an apathetic state so early in life? It broke my heart then and still breaks it today.
However, with a few extra bits and pieces of wisdom that I have managed to pick up in my later life… I would now pull them aside and tell them that they might not think they are making a difference in the world…but some of them have already changed people’s lives without even knowing it. And I would tell them a story that goes like this…
Kimberly’s Story: “A Man Named Fred”
In 1992, accompanied by fourteen friends, I rode my bike from Seattle to Atlantic City, New Jersey…to benefit the American Lung Association. One day in Idaho, I decided to ride alone. My friends and the van were far ahead of me.
My life was off-kilter and I needed time to be alone and think…I needed direction in my life and I hoped that this bike trip might give me the opportunity to find out who I was and how I could make a difference in the world.
I was enjoying the day and the ride when without warning my bike broke down. Upon inspection I realized that the the problem was the tiniest and most essential screw that holds the derailleur together…it was gone. Without it to shift through the gears, I could not ride my bike.
I looked around but all I could see was a small town on a distant hill. I got off my bike and began pushing it uphill…angry, scared, and confused. Would anybody out here in the wilderness be able to help me?
I passed a sign identifying a town and I finally located a car repair shop. After explaining who I was and my situation…the mechanic interrupted me and asked where I was from. I told him “New Jersey” and he slowly shook his head.
“Wait until I tell Fred…he will be so glad to know you are here.”
What a strange statement…who was Fred and what had I gotten myself into?” I felt very uneasy.
The mechanic decided that the best place to find a screw as tiny as I needed was the sewing machine shop. As soon as we entered I explained my situation again while the mechanic went to tell Fred that I had arrived.
After going through twenty or more boxes we found the screw that fit. The nice owner ( a lady) walked me back over to the car repair shop explaining that in a town the size of this one word of a new arrival traveled fast.
Sure enough, as we left the shop, three people walked by…with one shouting,”Oh! you must be Kimberly! Fred will be so glad to see you!”
It crossed my mind that maybe I had entered a science-fiction world, some sort of twilight zone where I would end up with some strange alien creature ….named Fred.
The mechanic got the sewing machine screw back on and it worked! I used the shop phone to call my friends and waited for them to pick me up.
Moments later, a van pulled up and a frail, elderly man carrying two brown bags of vegetables got out. He walked in to the shop and looked at me with wide eyes and a kind smile…”You must be Kimberly!”
“I can’t believe you are actually here,” he added.
It turned out we were both from neighboring small towns in New Jersey and knew a lot of the same people. Without going into detail Fred said that he had left his town twelve years ago because of something hurtful that happened. He could not bring himself to return…but he had been praying for forgiveness.”
Choked with emotion he concluded: “I prayed that if someone came to this small town in the middle of Idaho (who was from my whereabouts in New Jersey) it would be a miracle and a sign that I had been forgiven.” Fred went over and hugged Kimberly for being his (at long last) guardian angel for a day.
(Kimberly concluded: “I left that little town a different person than I entered. I know now that God has a purpose for all of us and is using us every day in ways that we may never even know.”
The tiny piece that went missing from Kimberly’s bike was essential to making it work…but the most important missing piece was the discovery for Kimberly that she was the missing piece in Fred’s puzzle of life. Her detour was a divinely aligned time and place to release Fred from his earlier inability to forgive himself.
“In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 NIV
Yes…I would have told those students that they have stepped in and out of other people’s lives, without even realizing it, and, as such, have made a difference in the world through one gesture of kindness.
So until tomorrow, Father, keep reminding all of us, on the good days and bad…that we are important, we are loved, and we are a child of God…loved beyond description. (No shrugs or grunts needed or desired.)
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh