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  • Writer's pictureLaura Skinner

How to Change Someone’s Life

Just hanging out with some English Ivy…

If you had the power to change someone’s life for the better, would you reach out and help that person?

We are big time fans of America’s Got Talent in our house, so we were tuned in to the season premiere of AGT Champions on Monday night. One of the acts, Duo Transcend, was a favorite from season 13. Husband and wife, Tyce Nielson and Mary Wolfe, perform amazing stunts on a trapeze. To add to the already incredible danger of their act, Tyce has a degenerative eye disease. He has been slowly losing his vision, and would eventually become completely blind. Because of their exposure on AGT, one of the top eye surgeons in the country reached out to them to help. This doctor was able to stop the progression of the disease, so Tyce will not become fully blind. I thought that was pretty incredible.

For some reason though, the thought crossed my mind- What if that doctor heard their story, but never reached out? What if he didn’t use his skills, his power, to save this man’s eyesight? Could you imagine having the power to change someone’s life in such a profound way, but not reaching out to help?He could have been too busy with work or too overwhelmed with his own life. Maybe he just didn’t have time. As one of the nation’s top eye surgeons, I’d imagine he has a pretty full schedule. Could you blame him for not taking the time to get in touch?

But the thing is, he did. With anything and everything this doctor cold have had going on in his own life, he was able to completely change the course of a stranger’s life for the better by using his knowledge and gifts.

And then I realized that maybe I could relate to this doctor. Maybe not on such a large and tangible scale, but in my everyday life.

I have a neighbor who I have known for over a decade, but in the past year has become a dear friend. When I was in middle school, I would help her with yard work around her farm. I can’t begin to tell you how many hours upon hours I have spent pulling English Ivy off trees and out of gardens around her property. I still help out with yard work, but recently I have been assisting her with more everyday tasks around her home, as she is no longer able to do them for herself due to her health. My weekly visits used to seem like a chore, but over time it has become an honor to help with her to-do lists. A reminder to not take the little things for granted, like taking out the trash, getting the mail, or going grocery shopping. It has been a blessing to see how just a few hours of my week can make such a big difference in my neighbor’s life.

On the other hand, how many times have I said ‘no’ to doing something I could have been a help in? Something I could have improved with my knowledge or abilities, but I was ‘too busy’ or ‘tired’ or just didn’t want to get involved. How many times have I passed on the opportunity to make someone’s life even just a little bit easier, because it would have been just a little bit inconvenient for me?

I don’t like to dwell on the past, but it’s a humbling thing for me to think about, as well a motivation to make me want to do my best to help when I can moving forward. It’s impossible as one person to solve every problem or help every person I encounter, but if I can help those that do cross my path, what a difference it could make in the world.

So how about you, friend? Have you had the opportunity to lend a hand recently? Or has someone’s small gesture been a big help to you during a difficult time? I’d love to hear about it! Positive stories make my heart happy. 🙂

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