Imagine if you woke up every day and asked yourself one simple question: “How can I make a difference in the world today?”
As lofty as the goal may sound before you have even had your first cup coffee, I want you to think about it for a moment. How would you answer that question? If you are not sure, let me assure you I know people who not only ask that question of themselves, but answer it.
Finding the answer in your heart to this simple question is 99 percent of making a positive difference in the world. You must hear yourself say, “Today, I will provide one meal for a person in need.” “Today I will help someone struggling with drug addiction.” “Today I will provide aid to a veteran thinking about suicide.”
The six most powerful words you can gift to yourself are “Today I will make a difference.” Far from a challenge, you will find these six words liberating. If you don’t believe me, then you need to get to know Lexi Leddy and Laura Barker.
Recently a Facebook post by local real estate agent Lexi Leddy caught my eye. It was unlike the common posts that now pollute social media. Leddy wanted to thank her clients “for trusting in her,” which I thought was a nice gesture. Leddy then announced part of her commission for that quarter would be donated to a local charity called Hero Pups (www.heropups.com). Researching her Facebook page, this was routine for Leddy. One person deciding to make a difference.
Hero Pups is a charity founded by Laura Barker (I know, the irony in her last name and the organization she serves…it was meant to be). The mission of Hero Pups is simple – to train and provide therapy dogs at no cost for veterans and first-responders suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. Every day, we lose far too many of our heroes, those who answered the call to serve our communities and country, and a therapy dog can make a difference. Barker does not do this alone or for profit, she does it because one day she woke up and asked herself, “What must I do today to make a difference?” Hero Pups was her answer.
A trained therapeutic dog provides the person in need with comfort, security and purpose. It is not complicated. No longer does the person in need feel alone, isolated, unwanted. A bond is forged; person and pup are there for each other. The person understands they are not mere shadows. Having talked to veterans with service dogs you hear a newfound resolve in their voice. You hear an acknowledgement in this person that for the first time in a long time their life has meaning. Where some see a cute puppy, others see hope.
I know of Barker casually because of the same circles in which we travel. I have never met Leddy. However, it feels as though I know them both very well through their selfless acts. I know them through their compassion. I know them because their deeds deserve our attention. Both these ladies, as well as many of you, and many more whose names and deeds are unknown to us, are people who answered those six simple words. These two humble, beautiful people are making a difference every day.
Leddy and Barker are not trying to cure all the world’s problems, but I have no doubt if given the opportunity they would be up to the challenge. It does not matter how small the gesture, or how large the problem. Every bit helps, and there is no problem so large we shouldn’t at least try to make a difference. So, I bring it back to you, and ask you again “How can you make a difference in the world today?” May you find the courage, compassion and resolve in your answer, and should you need a light in the dark, look to the examples of Leddy and Barker.