How To Make A Difference (Just One, One, One)

Neighboring The Neighborless.

When I began this blog, I had visions of motivating large crowds of people (a la Tony Robbins) to take some sort of flash-mob-like action, bringing shoes and clothes and food to the down-and-out in Chicago. I mean, that's how it works on the YouTube videos we see, right? Who wouldn't want to inspire thousands to go out and make a difference in this world? Go, Team Humanity! The realization that I can't do that knocked me down a few pegs. Until I remembered a quote that someone once told me reminded them of me:

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time - just one, one, one. So you begin. I began - I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand....The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community. Just begin - one, one, one. ~Mother Teresa”

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time - just one, one, one. So you begin. I began - I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand....The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community. Just begin - one, one, one.”

These words from Mother Teresa, for me, are what this whole thing is all about. I don't have to do something huge and awe-inspiring. I don't have to do something that goes viral. I'm not out to impress anyone. It's all about helping just that one person. And then the next one. One, one, one.

When you're out at lunch tomorrow... when you're on your way home, rushing to have a well-deserved and much needed beer at the end of the day, just stop and do one small act of kindness for someone who doesn't have a home to go to. Buy them a hot dog. Ask if you can get them a cup of coffee to stay warm. Listen to their answer - yeah, it might take 5 or 10 minutes out of your night but, in the grand scheme of things, is that such a sacrifice? You don't need to help every homeless person in your path. You don't even need to  help two. Just start with one.

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  • Great post, Kelley. It takes so little to brighten someone's day. It's not that hard and goes a long way.

  • In reply to Sandy Manisco:

    Thanks so much, Sandy - that's really my hope. If I can't change the world in one, giant sweep of inspiration, I can certainly do one, one, one :)

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