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What impact do I have?

January 22, 2022

I had lunch with my mentor/friend and we talked about residual impact, the ongoing effect we leave in our wake.

Often times we talk about residual impact in the context of politics and environment, but it should be considered in our day-to-day activities. Everything we do has residual impact, the way we treat the person at the grocery store will determine how the rest of their day goes. The way we respond to a driver cutting us off, determines the rest of our day. I don't want to give a single interaction or event too much power, but reality is, we might just be the last contact that pushes a person over the edge (one way or another).

The way I react to the clerk in the grocery store determines the rest of his day. The way I react to the police officer might determine how she responds to the next call. The way I cut off a person in traffic might affect how he teaches that day in the kindergarten class.

I don't want to say that I (or you) have so much power over people, but let's be real...we know how much one word, one look, one gesture can affect our days.

Let's take it to a different level. My passion for years has been to empower under-resourced neighborhoods to thrive and I am reminded that every encounter I have influences another person. Every day I hope to help a person see their amazing giftedness, their strength and resilience, and every day I fall short. Every day I encounter people who are on the verge of giving up, too tired from the fight to even dream about another way. Every day I encounter people who have been in difficult situations and are trying to overcome and move forward. Everyday, I am the one in need of a kind word, a smile, an encouraging note. We need each other. Humans are made for community and if we don't figure out how to engage deeply with each other, see the good in people, and speak life into people, we will become less.

As I am getting older I often wonder what legacy (or residual impact) do I leave behind, was my life worth it, did I help make this place a better place? Did I point people to look for God in their day-to-day activities? Did my life matter?

Today, I want to keep an eye on the way I react to the homeless person at the corner, the way I respond to the social media posts, the way I speak to my staff, the way I engage with the EGR (extra grace required) person I encounter. Today, I want to live with 'residual impact' in mind.

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