This morning when I got to my office, a young man was sitting outside on a sofa... waiting for me to open up. Our space is a community space, where people can come in and use computers, the microwave, talk cultural and community issues, find resources and information, learn about progressive politics, and relax throughout the day.
I started off the day as usual... de-alarming the space, turning on all lights and equipment, put my lunch away, and got my office space prepared (which is set apart from the community space.)
Saw the young man just sorta looking around. Not like he was looking for trouble. I could see that he was probably facing trouble, or some dilemma, that he wanted to get off his chest. He knew my name, Fred, though I had never met or seen him around the space before.
So I talked with him. Or rather, listened. All he needed was 30 minutes, some referrals to community resources and agencies for his specific dilemma, and someone to listen to him. I could tell he was just an ordinary person facing what he thought was an extraordinary dilemma or experience. After, he said just getting it out was cathartic and made the dilemma seem not so significant in the grand scheme of things.
Everyday we are faced with choices. To be helpers. To be blockers. To be the one person who might make a difference, make someone's life a bit easier. To be the one personable and helpful person in the midst of a bureaucracy and difficult system (for those of you who work customer service... or in a government office 9 to 5 setting).
Not saying I'm totally innocent, or even close to being a saint (I'm far from it, believe me), but one thing I have learned from my years of family and church upbringing is that WE (collectively) may be the only "higher powerly" touch a person may get in a day. And we never know when we're the role model someone is looking at. Or the person someone may consider going to just to share a burden. Or the person who a young person wants to know or be mentored by. You never know.
I hope you're making a difference in whatever way you can (and most of you are already, and not knowing it) today and everyday.