Who Are You? What Have You Learned? What Difference Have You Made?

MaidI saw Oprah, on several occasions, pick a person from her audience and ask them for a short version of their story: “Who were they, what had they learned, what difference had they made?” Powerful stuff, I know, because friends and I co-published a small, community newspaper for 12 years, and whenever we posed those questions, something incredible happened.

Because we cared enough to ask, their hearts and minds opened and they blew us away with their experiences, insights and plans. We filled an issue with the answers of people we asked those same questions: Who are you? What have you learned? What difference have you made? The heart-responses of a maid we came upon cleaning a large public restroom were as significant and inspirational as the governor’s.

Those really are the important questions, aren’t they? We can change any conversation to a communication with them. We yearn for true connections, we want to bring down our walls–but these are really scary times. While that is true, fear and hopelessness are mind-bullies that can turn birthday balloons into hot-air balloons—and toss us about as if they are in charge.

Did you ever tell anyone, “You’re not the boss of me!” That’s what we’ve got to do with fear and hopelessness: “Scram! Out! I’m the boss of me!” Maybe then we can take a virtual hammer to our ‘protection’ walls and actually go somewhere to do something for someone else. We’ll have made a difference for another and have the satisfaction earned by giving.

Isn’t it really something that God created all of us and needs every single one of us–that we all matter? We may think we don’t matter, but we couldn’t be more wrong. We are loved beyond measure as individuals, and what He/She most needs is our insight, our cooperation and our service. I picture God looking down on Earth and smiling at the light and sparkling colors where we’ve each laid in our own small piece of His cosmic patchwork of Light.