Music and the Spoken Word: How to make a difference

Posted April 10

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast.

It’s often said that advancements in communication and transportation have made our world smaller. We can see other countries with a click of a button, travel quicker and easier than ever, and communicate with almost anyone in the world. But as we do, we are also reminded of just how big the world is, and we can feel smaller and smaller in the grand scheme of things.

To overcome such feelings, many of us hope to do big things in life, to make a big difference. But what has happened to the little moments in our search for big ones? Are we dashing through life trying to check off items on our bucket list, only to learn that most of those pursuits are largely self-centered? When we let ourselves become consumed with our work, do we miss life’s real purpose?

If we truly want to make a difference, maybe we need to take a different approach. What if each day we tried to make a small difference in someone’s life?

A middle-aged woman recently heard a family counselor say that everyone you meet has unmet needs. This notion so resonated with her that it became a turning point in her life. She began to see everyone as someone she could help, if only in some small way. “What is this person’s unmet need?” she would wonder. “And what can I do to meet it, perhaps just a little?” She felt such renewed purpose and enthusiasm that it made her wonder if she had wasted the first 50 years of her life worrying only about herself.

Although a kind word or a smile might not seem monumental, each one adds up, like snowflakes that accumulate, one by one, into huge snow drifts. No act of kindness is ever wasted. It might even be just what someone was hoping for: evidence that this big, busy world is not as uncaring as it sometimes seems.

It’s a simple formula, really. To feel you have value and to know you matter, you simply find small ways to matter to others. It’s really true that when we lose ourselves in service, we find our best selves.


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