The impact you have on any other person in the world is often beyond your view. I think this is so for me. I have had the vague notions of how I have impacted others. Did I help this person grow into a healthy person? Have the nightmares stopped for this one? I can answer them, as I chose, and often time choose the positive. Maybe that is presumptive on my part, but it makes my sense of self feel stronger. Maybe we all do that.
This past week, I had the opportunity to go shoot some very caring people who were going to help a large group of families with Christmas. Pretty standard fare for me. Go out shoot some pictures , grab some background, and write it up by the end of the day.
This was one of those twinkling days, that we can’t see coming. They blindside you with awareness, and teach you something, like it or not. I was about to be schooled in life. A little girl was to be my teacher.
Some will recall that Jim McKeown died recently. More than once, someone has confused me for him, and asked about ad rates or when I am going to put such and such in the paper. I have gotten used to it. I suppose we loosely favor one another. Probably the whitish beard.
So I walk into the gym of this church, and marvel at the abundance there. I notice out of the corner of my eye, two young girls I have known for a long time. They are always excited to see me. The oldest one gave me that smile she always seems to have. The younger one, was reserved and avoided eye contact, something I noticed right off. And promptly chalked it up to being 7am in the morning. Heck, I was half asleep. I moved on to taking pictures.
I walked around and eventually made it back to this young girl, and by now several of her friends. They saw the camera, and started making faces for me to snap a picture. I shot a few, and then there should have been a flash or crack of lighting to signal the lesson about to approach. This young woman looked me in the eye and said “I saw a picture in the paper, and I thought you had died. I cried.”
I tell you my heart skipped a beat, and I froze. I knew what she was saying, and yet what do you say? I could tell she was relieved, and yet, I could imagine the heartache that thinking someone you knew had died. I reassured her, I would be here a long while (I hope that was truthful). Satisfied, she ran off to join the other youth.
I am not going to forget that moment. I was given the quickest and deepest glance into my impact on others. It came from a corner of life I never expected. Be aware that while they may not tell you as clearly as I was told, there is this person in your life as well. You have an impact in ways you scarcely understand