A Positive Difference

Last year in November, Derrick had the honor of having two of his images published for the 2014 OkinawaHai.com Calendar. It was a very exciting time and we were both proud of his accomplishment. We had the calendar pages nicely framed and now it hangs on the wall in our office. This year we were happy to get another frame made to hang on the wall. Jenny had an image published in the 2015 OkinawaHai.com Calendar. It was another proud and honorable moment for us. And yes, if you did happen to notice, she also had a haiku published. We are grateful for these small accomplishments.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” -Vincent Van Gogh

 All too often (speaking personally here), we tend to think that if we can’t do something big, then maybe we shouldn’t do anything at all. If we can’t contribute something great, then why bother because it won’t matter. We have the heart for it but our means may not always be in line with our thinking, so we don’t act.

The following story may sound cliché. But this is a recent experience that I want to share. I was parked, sitting in my car having a phone conversation with a friend. I noticed a man ride up on a bicycle. He picked up a few cans and then seemed to notice me and started to walk over. I’m ashamed to admit that I was thinking ‘He is going to ask me for something now’. I immediately regretted my thoughts on a large scale when he walked past my car without even a glance, and went to check out a pair of shoes left on the ground. My heart sank when he got back on his bicycle and started to ride away. I was humbled more than I can express. I immediately grabbed my wallet and rolled down my window. “Sumimasen” (Excuse Me), I said. He stopped riding and walked over to my passenger window. I didn’t have much to offer but I gave him what I could and what felt right at that time. He immediately flashed the brightest grin and pointed at himself. I said, “Yes, for you”. He took the yen and said “Thank you” with the most sincere eyes I have seen in a long while. Then he rode away on his bike and gave me a little wave as I drove by him. And I felt so happy that my small attempt at helping made such a difference to him. It simply felt good in my heart to do something for a total stranger. And yes, it helped that he was grateful, but even so, it just felt good to do something for someone that needed it.  I needed to do something for him just as much as he needed it done. I needed to be humbled. And I truly spent the rest of that day with a peaceful heart. 

What’s the point of this story, you’re wondering. Well, my point is that it doesn’t matter how small an act of kindness seems to the giver. For the other person receiving, it may be a blessing at that moment. And although I did receive confirmation of gratitude, even if you don’t, don’t be discouraged. A positive impact will be made by your generosity. 

We didn’t expect the recognition for or publication of our images. The calendar staff likely doesn’t even realize the significance of choosing our images. After all, it's part of their job. Nevertheless a positive difference was made and we are grateful they did.