Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Differences that Matter Most

           It was 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. I was driving; my passengers were all asleep.  It was dark, and I was tired. We were somewhere in the seemingly endless Northern half of the state. It was another day of chapter visits, fast food, and district kickoffs. As I drove, I turned the radio off as to not wake up my teammates. The silence combined with the dark created an eerie emptiness all around me. My thoughts were as loud as voices, with no actual voices to dampen them. The hum of the engine kept time as I stared ceaselessly at the horizon my headlights created. The drive wore on. I wore on. Pushing a swath through the undisturbed darkness with my high beams, like any plow-fitted truck pushing through a freshly fallen snow. For miles I illuminated a canyon with walls of corn stalks rising up on each side. Eventually, my course led me onto the main street of one of Indiana’s innumerable tiny towns. A hardware store, a rundown gas station, and one solitary flashing light, these are what they all seemed to share. I had noted these characteristics as I had been through countless other nameless little towns in my travels. I pressed on through the town, my headlights providing brief glimpses of the houses on either side of the street, brief glimpses of the people’s lives who occupied this little town. Again, the hum of the engine kept a rhythm as my thoughts swirled about me, and I began to contemplate the people of those tiny nameless towns.
            I had gone my entire life never knowing this town –which I was now driving through—even existed. I was willing to wager that most of the world would live and die having never known that this little one-flashing-light town in Northern Indiana existed. With that, most people on Earth would never know that any of the people in this little town even existed. I was startled by the thought. I was even a bit scared by it. These tiny people in this tiny town could disappear, and the world would be none the wiser. And what’s more, I too was a tiny person, having come from a similar tiny town. I too could disappear along with all the other occupants of my tiny little town, and the world would know no differently. That was a terrible thought. The idea that most people on Earth would never know I existed terrified me.
            As I continued to drive, I soon left the little town in the darkness in which I’d found it. And although it was now behind me, it was still very much in the forefront of my mind. The longer I drove, the longer I thought. Light eventually broke over the horizon, painting the sky every hue of red and pink and orange. At the same time a new perspective broke within me. Why should I worry about whether the majority of people on Earth know I existed? There are a few people who will know, and if I am able to impact those few people positively then for what else can I ask? So many of us—tiny people from tiny towns all across the world—will not be remembered or even known by most of the population. But, some will have known us. Perhaps it would be in vain to try and change the lives of every person on Earth, but we can change the lives of some. We may not make a difference to everyone, but we can make a difference to some. We can make a positive difference in the lives of those around us, those who will have known us, and those are the differences that matter most.  

Jacob Mueller
2014-2015 Southern Region Vice President 

No comments:

Post a Comment