We all make a difference

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.

How many times have we wished we had the ability to express ourselves when we are the recipients of goodness as demonstrated by others? Sometimes we just look in amazement at the many people who cross our paths during our journey who have had an impact on our lives.

Each morning when we awake to a new day, we can also find new things that will brighten our day or make the experience more exciting in so many ways. But then we forget all too often to just say a simple “thank you.” We have a tendency to forget the ones who impact our lives. If we stop to think for a moment, there are so many groups and individuals who are part of us in so many ways.

Our minds sometimes feel enslaved for thinking differently. We take the benevolence offered by God and squander it on complacency.

I like to watch an old movie titled It’s a Wonderful Life. I always find something different in the message. It is a timeless story of greed and goodness. The miracles experienced in this film come from the fact that adversity sometimes wakes us up to reality; the reality that goodness comes with effort.

No person is alone if she or he has friends. And no person is alone if he or she has faith. I believe they go together. Our faith is somehow strengthened when we can hold a hand and share life’s difficulties. Each of us represents a microscopic view of the world. If we listen and watch, we can see the whole world in front of us – from dialogue to accent to wishes and completion.

We may look different on the outside, but inwardly we share the same needs and desires. We all need compassion and caring, acceptance and togetherness. To me, the film depicts in a very moving way about our values that are no different than those of the person near or far.

Albert Einstein, I believe, summed it up best: “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we know: That we are here for the sake of others . . . above all, for those upon whose smile and wellbeing our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.”

I could not help think as I read these words how much of an impact we have on the lives of those we come in contact with each and every day. We probably will never know to what extent we truly affect their lives. I do know that each and every time people gather, either for prayer or celebration or sorrow, there is a feeling of contentment and satisfaction in the knowledge that no one need be alone.