Does One Voice Make A Difference?

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“‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'”

The book of Ecclesiastes paints a bleak picture of life.  It describes how cycles of nature repeat and nothing really changes from before.  We labor yet we are soon to be forgotten along with our labor.

If that is how he felt then, then how should one feel today?  Meaning can be further lost in our current understanding of the vastness of time and space.  We rush with an ever quickening pace into a sea of nothingness.

“Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18)

Wisdom goes hand and hand with sorrow because the unwise do not realize they are unwise.  So a wise person is often stuck watching the foolishness of others unfold before their eyes without being able to do anything to stop it.  Knowledge of the patterns of people and history is often a source of painful helplessness.

What can a compassionate and intelligent person do but mourn the world then bury themselves in pleasurable indulgences so they can forget?  

The excesses of king Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, were not a product of foolishness, they were an attempt to escape a maddening reality where all men (wise or foolish) would eventually perish.  His knowledge and wisdom made all of his pursuits become empty.

“The wise have eyes in their heads, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.  Then I said to myself, ‘The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?’  I said to myself, ‘This too is meaningless.’  For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!” (Ecclesiastes 2:14-16)

It is a reality that is inescapable, watching people make the same mistakes over and over again, seeing where the patterns of today will lead, being treated as a fool by those whom you are trying to warn, unable to convince them until it is too late and the die is already cast.  It is enough to make a wise person stop wasting their efforts.

This is the battle a writer who wishes to make a difference in the world must face.  There is no point in writing if there’s nobody to read or comprehend.  We wish to be understood so that others might gain from our experience and insights.  But in a world of over seven billion voices who has time to listen?  How can true wisdom seperate itself from the inane chatter?

Even my triumphs, even when a blog I write hits a chord and is viewed a thousand times, there is often a feeling of morose that follows.  My writing is never good enough and even if it was who’s actually listening?  I feel compelled to speak my mind yet then wonder if it is meaningful that I do say a word.  I fight off discouragement until it is time to write again.

However, what matters to me ultimately is not the thousands of anonymous visitors here.  No, it is the people, small and unimportant to the world, whom I’ve been able to encourage.  Whatever lofty ideas I share here matter very little in the end.  What matters is those who have found my love to be genuine and will remember someone cared about them.

The meaning in my life doesn’t come from being important to the world.  My meaning comes from being remembered and appreciated by those unnoticed and forgotten by the world.  If our efforts make a positive difference for one person then it is enough.  

My voice might not make much difference in the world.  But if I can change the world for one person and give them hope or answers then I have made a world of difference to them.  

I find the most meaning in life when I narrow my focus to loving one person.

I love mom

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It isn’t Mother’s Day…

But who says I need to turn my love of my mom into a once a year cliché? 

Traditions have a place for expression of love and appreciation.  However, spontaneity seems to have a more authentic or genuine ring to it and I know moms need love from their children year round.

I’ve been struggling trying to blog.  I have plenty of ideas.  I’ve started numerous blogs.  I’ve even published some only to later remove them because they weren’t well-written and thought out.  My mind is just moving too fast right now.  I have something else sucking the oxygen out of the room that makes focus on anything else next to impossible.

Then, after several failed blog brainstorm thoughts, I realized there was one topic that could keep me fixated for long enough to finish the thought.  It is the person who sees the best in me.  Despite my imperfections and flaws, my mom still loves me deeply.  I owe her more than I could ever think to repay.

I would not have made it through the past year without mom.  I’ve had some deep struggles, probably deeper than any I’ve had before in my life, and sometimes my only remaining motivation for living was to not disappoint my mom.  It is why I weep at the thought of losing her.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly others who deserve a portion of the credit.  I am grateful for brothers, sisters, pastors, friends and my dad for their investments.  I have deep appreciation for the time and resources they have invested.  However they have not combined matched the contribution of my mother in loyalty, patience, wisdom and depth of concern for my well-being.

I think it is easy to gauge our worth to another person.  Simply estimate the amount of time it would take for them to realize you are gone.  If I were abducted by aliens it could be weeks (even months) until my friends noticed.  Certainly my presence on social media would drop suddenly and somebody may notice, but not many would raise an alarm.

But there are two people who would know.  One would be my boss when his faithful employee was a no-show and didn’t respond to his frantic messages.  The next is most definitely be my mother who has an awareness of when we last spoke and checks in if she doesn’t hear from me.

True concern is what makes a mom special.  But it goes beyond that too.  My mom understands me in a way nobody else does.  I spent more of my life with no other person on earth.  I share some of her personality.  She carried me for months before I was even born, sang to me, fed me and encouraged. 

It was mom who always told me I survived a traumatic birth experience for a special purpose.  I’m not sure I have found that special purpose yet, but I do know my mom hasn’t given up on it and therefore how can I?  I don’t want to disappoint my mom, I’m her sunshine after all, right?

My mom will tell me when I’m wrong.  However, unlike the world that piles on when you need love with criticism or condemnation, I have a mom who will help untangle, pull away weighted objects and dig through the mud to find me in the pile of rubble.  Her hug is worth more than a million words of unsolicited advice from those thinking that’s what I need.

I have an extraordinary mom.  I have a mom who is intelligent and wise.  I have a mom who has overcome many obstacles that may been too much for a weaker person.  She gives me hope when I can’t find my own and love rather than judgment when I fail.

My mom isn’t perfect.  In fact, my mom is much like me and very human.  We don’t always agree.  We argue sometimes.  She’s stubborn and opinionated.  Yet none of that makes me love her less.  If my mom were flawless could she love me?  I mean, love has a component of grace and grace is somewhat a product of knowing how difficult living to a high standard can be.

Anyhow, Mother’s Day is a day before my birthday this year and I like that coincidence.  But my mother has my undivided love year round because there is simply no other in my life like her.  I would be lost in the world without my mother’s love.  Her love is the color in my world.