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7.24.2012

The lives we touch

The other day I received a poem from a reader who was inspired by a blog post I'd written. She said it touched her deeply and she couldn't help but write. I think it is amazing how we all effect each other in the things we do. Even without knowing it we touch other people, other lives and make small, or sometimes significant differences.

When I was a lot younger I lived in relative solitude. Went to work, didn't know my neighbors, stayed a stranger to society. I wanted to be a writer so I could share my ideas, both fiction and political/societal, with the world. At the same time, it appeared I didn't want that much to do with the world. That all changed as I got a bit older and more engaged in life. I guess I realized that it was better to do what needed to be done rather than just talk about it and as a result I started make a difference in other people's lives.

As a flutemaker, I created ways to alter the flute that saved flutists from hand injuries. In some cases, I even saved their careers. In politics, I worked on issues that effected thousands of local residents. While fighting to protect our town from becoming a garbage dump, one woman saw me on local TV and decided to join the fight right there. She told me I changed her life because she learned one person could make a difference and then she applied it to her personal life as well. She took control of her bad situation and turned it around to make a better life for herself and her son. I've heard from others as well, who's world's I have reached in less profound ways. A friend told me he went on a diet and started to take better care of himself because he saw I could do it.

More often than not, it isn't quite that dramatic and we don't even hear from the people we reach profoundly. Sometimes, it's even negative (I have my share of relationships gone sour) and we don't realize it. But the fact remains that we all bump around and impact those around us in ways we can't imagine. It's an important thought. Especially important to consider after a brutal tragedy like the movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colorado. It has ripples that slosh around the country and the world.

Right now, my world is smaller again. I'm looking after family and not spending as much time in the community. Still, I know without doubt that what I do is not isolated, that I am always part of a larger circle that then connects to other circles and reaches places I will never know.

At the same time, it continues to surprise me whenever I hear from someone whose life I have touched.