“To the world you may be only one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
When I first read this quote it pierced my heart. How often do we feel insignificant, and forget the difference we make in the lives of others? When I became a mother this concept became real to me on a whole new level. Here was this tiny infant who needed help with everything to survive. He had to learn so much! He had to learn to eat, move, and control basic body functions. He had to figure out how to roll over, sit up, talk, and walk. And I got to be there every step of the way. It was a huge and humbling job. I would never trade that experience for the world. I learned so much. The innocence of babies and children is so beautiful.
When I was a child I relied similarly on my parents. They taught me to drive, to balance a check book, and how to be a functional adult. Grocery shopping, cooking, and basic life skills don’t come on a
thumb drive that you can just download into your brain. Although I sure wish they did. And no matter how insignificant you think you are, someone is learning from you right now.
We recently lost our friend Doug who may have seemed to be just one guy. But to his comrades, family, friends, and community he really mattered. You may have heard about it on the news. Doug Barney was a police officer and died in the line of duty, Sunday January 18th 2016. Before it was even public knowledge that Doug had died, our congregation knew about it. And before the day was out his home was decorated in blue ribbons and American flags showing support and sympathy. Everywhere you go in our neighborhood porch lights have been replaced with blue light bulbs, bumper stickers have appeared stating “Blue Lives Matter,” and flags line the roads.
At Doug’s funeral between 8,000 and 10,000 police officers from all over the world were in attendance. A motorcade of police vehicles, miles long, shut down major two highways across much of the state as they drove his casket to his burial place. And the line for his viewing wrapped around the church even before the doors even officially opened. It was moving and sweet, and emotional to witness.
But the support hasn’t stopped there. Doug has three children. And his 13 year old son was scheduled to play in a hockey game before Doug’s funeral. And since Doug couldn’t be there, every police officer and fireman in the city showed up to escort him- with lights and sirens blazing. They cheered him on, and stood by his side at a very hard time. Doug’s family was their family. And they are now our family too. The whole neighborhood has adopted them, and checks on them often. It’s quite clear to me that Doug was important to all of us. To the world he was one man. But to his family, friends, and brothers in blue, he was a significant part of the world.
So take some time to remember that you matter, and that the world needs you. And make sure to let those you love know that they matter to you. It’s a sad truth about this world that none of us get out of it alive. So while we can, we need to make others see their value in our eyes. And we need to be sure that nobody feels forgotten, especially in times of trial or heartache. I have been so blessed to get to have loved many people. But I often was too wrapped up in my own life to see when others needed me. After this week, and the very real reminders about the difference one man can make, I am determined to change that.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.