What Difference Do I Make?


“Gosh, Patrice, sometimes to hear you talk, or to listen to you think, one could get the impression that you have absolutely no idea of how extraordinarily well you use your gifts, or of the difference you’ve been making. ”

A truer statement I have not heard.

I asked several friends a few days ago to describe me in four words.  I was really very surprised by their honesty and what they thought of me.  I was humbled and thankful.

When I am asked to describe myself I say Tall, smart, funny, slightly sarcastic, determined.  That’s about as far as I go with the positive.  I could provide a list of the negative, or at least I used to.  Now, I’m starting to see me for who I am deep inside.  Compassionate.  Kind.  Deeply loving.

I am proud that I think of those three things now.  I also add STRONG to the list.

But what I still haven’t realized are my gifts.  What gifts do I have and how do I use them?  Am I using them wisely? What difference have I ever made in someone’s life?  Was the love I gave to my niece Jessie, and my nephew Matt influential in any way?  Is the time I spend and the love I give to Evie and Cora enough?  Is it going to matter?

Did all the volunteer work I did help?  I worked for Call RAPE and went to the hospital with many women.  Did I comfort them?  Did I help make them feel empowered and cared for?  Did I help them in their worst hour?

I volunteered at the Dallas AIDS Resource Center.  I did many things there from passing out condom packages in bars to being a “buddy” to AIDS patients….driving them to the grocery store, to the doctor, to the hospital, to any place they needed to go.  Did that very small effort mean anything to these men before they died?  I was also an HIV counselor which meant I asked the questions and gave the results.  The four times I told people they were HIV positive did I do it in a compassionate and caring way?  Did I help them in any way face that news?

In my everyday life do I make any difference?

Has anything I’ve done made a difference?

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