Homebodies - We do make a difference


Rita Friesen
Neepawa Banner & Press

A conversation with a good friend started a deeper introspection of one of the theories I embrace. You know the old illustration used to remind us that none of us are indispensable; place your hand in a body of water, remove, and see that all is the same even without your presence? I don’t agree. The moment my/your hand touches the water there is an irreversible change in the liquid. Hence, no matter how brief our presence is in any given situation, we have generated a change.

Our elementary school here is known as Hazel M Kellington. Want to bet that most folks in our area have no recollection of the gifted teacher that instilled a love for learning and provided a safe place for countless children? Indeed, she is gone and there has been a parade of teachers that followed, some of them as worthy of having a school named after them, and now no more than a name in a dusty record book. But, the number of children that learned to love reading, read to their children and grandchildren, and that love, instilled by one person, changes worlds. Or the beloved music teacher that instilled a love for music and drama in generations of students. Home after home has been blessed by the joy that song and dance can bring, filling a hunger for self expression and creativity. The list goes on, the instructor that inspired a youth in art or science, changing the course of one life which in turn affected generations.

There is a fine line between being humble and owning who we are. We do make a difference- as a plus or a negative- a difference that no one but us can make. I think of the list of ministers and church leaders that have served a community for a brief period and then answered the call to serve somewhere else. Yes, they were replaced, replaceable, but their presence created change. Years ago I was an active member of another denomination than the one I now love and serve. I still hold the other faith families with respect and affection and I hold close a statement a minister made more than twenty years ago- “ I don’t care how high you raise your hands in praise on Sunday morning, if you aren’t walking straight on Wednesday it doesn’t mean much.” Yikes, more than twenty years later I hold that as goal. His presence, even for a few years, changed the water in my pail forever.

I am a wanderer of cemeteries. Walking slowly through the grounds, reading names and the words of remembrance etched on the stone. Some cause me to ponder, some to wonder. Often the sentiment expressed is that the person will never be forgotten, always remembered, always loved. Now, generations after their passing, for most of those reading the words, the person is unknown and forgotten. There life and influence a mystery. And yet, they made a difference to someone. For generations yet to come, know this well, our presence, yours and mine, changes the world forever.