This one is dedicated to those who feel like they have done nothing in their lives. To those who feel that they have not accomplished anything worthwhile in their lives. To those who may feel that they have done nothing to change the world or anyone’s life for the better. If this is how you feel, then give this one a read.
For the record, I have felt this same way most of my life and many times still do. But there is one conversation with my best friend Frank that I had several years ago that changed that feeling and in a big way gave my life new meaning and has changed my life. Let me explain.
Picture a night of sharing a few beers between Frank and me. Frank is my best friend for many years at this point. We are at either his house or mine. I honestly don’t remember. Frank and I are both in our 40’s and the conversation dives right smack into the middle of mid-life crisis. Frank starts the process with something to the effect of “I mean really … What have I ever done to change anything in this world or anyone’s life. I haven’t accomplished anything good in my life.” I say, “Yes you have. You have a beautiful wife and three great children.” He waves his hand down at me and says, “Naaah, but I haven’t made a difference in anyone’s life. I haven’t done anything special.”
He continues to talk about his not making a difference in anyone’s life when I combatedly say, “What have I done to change anyone’s life. I’ve never done anything to change anyone or really do any good for anyone. I don’t think I have done anything to change anyone’s life or make a difference.” I said this loud and I was annoyed and pretty much falling into self pity and disgust with myself when Frank stopped me in my tracks and said, “That’s not true. You did do something to change someone’s life.”
Still ticked off, I said angrily, “What? What have I possibly done?” Frank said, "You made a difference in Jay’s life. For the record, Jay is Frank’s younger brother. I said, “How did I change Jay’s life?” Frank said, “When you and I and Darral used to go fishing in northern Wisconsin on vacation every year, you invited him to come along with us to go fishing for the week on vacation” I said, “Yeah. So what?” Frank said, “Jay was heavily involved with a gang at the time. He was getting into a lot of trouble and we were all worried about him. When you invited him to go on a fishing vacation with us for a week to northern Wisconsin, he felt it was a big deal. He never went fishing before and enjoyed the trip with us so much that he never went back to that gang again. Jay kept talking about what a great time he had fishing and catching fish and all the great food we cooked. It changed him to the point where he quit the gang forever.”
I stood there like a dumbfounded idiot and said, “Really?” Frank said, “Yeah. It was because you invited him to come along fishing with us. You changed his life. Your invitation changed his life around and now he loves fishing. He seemed to become a different person after that trip.”
I stood there silent. I didn’t know what to say or what to add to the conversation.
I know this. That conversation between Frank and me has stayed with me and I keep it close to my heart and will forever. What Frank gave me was a gift. Jay and I became very close friends as well. We became very in tune to each other. We would finish each other’s sentences and would react to things in an identical same manner.
Example: I would think of calling Jay on the phone and therefore dial him up. I finish pressing the full number and wait for the ringtone. I wait a few seconds and do not hear the tone of Jay’s phone ringing on the other end. Now several more seconds pass, and the phone seems dead and eerily quiet. Finally, breaking the silence I hear Jay’s voice “Hello?”. I say kind of freaked out, “Hello?” Jay says, “Adam?” I say “Yeah. Who’s this?” He says, “It’s Jay.” “Jay? I was calling you just now.” Jay says, " I was calling you just now." We both laugh loudly and cannot believe what happen. Apparently, he was thinking of calling me and dialed me at the exact same time as I did dialing his number. The result was a mutual freak connection with no ringing, but a direct connection that was immediate with perfect timing. This is odd enough as it is, but this happened again more than once. Can you imagine the amazement when this happen a second time? I think we managed to produce this freak timing about four or five times. We became that in tune into each others thinking.
Life can be amazing at times.
Please think of this story the next time you feel that you have never done anything to change anyone’s life or done any good in your life. Everything positive you say or do for another person can change them more than you will ever know. Don’t be afraid to ask, to invite, to offer advice, or offer a helping hand. The odds are great that you will not see any immediate change or effect. And if you do, it will be many years later that you see the results if at all. The point is, don’t stop trying. Don’t think you don’t make a difference. Don’t think you don’t mean something to someone in an immensely great and powerful way. You may just be talking to your own version of a Frank someday. You just never know when that moment will come. Just remember to thank God when that moment comes and that you were able to recognize the gift.