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Life is strange---you never know where you are going or how you are going to get there, then one day you look back and you’ve been walking the entire time. You find yourself somewhere completely different than where you thought you were going or where you thought you would be...
Once upon a time, I wasn’t a very nice person. I was unhappy, prideful, selfish and mostly an uncaring man who made a lot of people, (mostly the ones who love and care for me) very unhappy, as well. I never took time for my family or cared what they were doing or what they thought. I didn’t even take the time to answer their calls because I was a big man with an agenda and it was all about me.
About 10 years ago, while still in my wretched misery that I called 'life', I met a waitress. She was just a nobody with an apron and a huge chip on her shoulder. That particular day, she had the good fortune of being the one who would be waiting on me in the diner where she worked.
I was in a bad mood, but it was evident that her mood was even worse than mine. I can tell you right now, there were no niceties exchanged between the two of us as she seated me at the far end of the diner (per my request). When she addressed me, my only responses to her were with irritability and complaining and in like, she retorted with snapping and grumbling. We were quite the pair.
We did battle with one another during the dinner service and I made her chase after every one of my whims -- a new fork, another napkin, a cleaner glass of water -- nothing was good enough for me and I was going to make her work.
After some time of barking orders to her, I began to converse with her in a more civil manner. With some kinder words, we both seemed to soften a bit and eventually I asked her to sit and talk a while. It wasn’t a long talk and I don’t remember what we even talked about. But for such a short conversation, she had quite an impact on me. I felt my mood begin to lift. After we finished speaking, I told her what a difference she had made in the direction of my day. She brought me the check to pay, less than twenty dollars in total, along with her declaration that I had no idea what this shared moment had done for her. Leaving the diner, I attached a one hundred dollar bill to the check along with a note on a napkin. On the napkin I wrote a quick note telling her how much I had enjoyed our conversation and the way it had changed my disposition for the better. I just wanted to say, "Thank you."
I went on to say that if there was ever anything I could do for her, to let me know.
A couple of weeks later, I received a box in the mail. Upon opening the dainty box, I found a note. The note went something like this...
"David, I had to write to you. I am not sure if you understand the power your words had on me that day you came into the diner -- the way it caused me to change the direction of my life. I felt like no one cared about me and there was no point in living. That day you and I talked, my plans were to go home after work and commit suicide. Your kindness brought me back from the dark side. I really can’t afford much, but please accept this gift."
I looked in the box, but didn’t see anything. After tilting the box to the side, it rolled across the bottom and I saw the shine of the metal object... it was a bullet.
She went on to say, "This was the bullet that I had meant to use to end my life but I no longer need it..."
I was certainly relieved that she had not harmed herself. I was really shocked and taken aback about the whole thing. She was actually going to kill herself! Wow! I mean, I was the guy who wasn’t a nice person! But, with just a few words between us, there had been a difference made in our lives’so much so that she wanted to continue living! She had helped me. I had helped her. We had connected somehow on a different level that left us both changed forever. After all that, the truth is I never did see her again. I do think of her often though and hope she is enjoying a wonderful life.
Listen, I’m no saint, and for those of you who know me now, you know me as a man who still has a long way to go. But I get up every morning doing the best that I can. I still get out there and try. I can tell you, without a doubt, that I am not the same man I used to be, thank God and only Him. I’d like to say that I’ve arrived, but unfortunately, I am still on the path, just trying to walk the walk.
I don’t know much, but I do know one thing, you can make a difference with just a word. We have so much power as individuals. What you say to others will either bring them up or tear them down. We can choose to show others mercy and goodness or we can choose to devastate them heart and soul.
Since 1999, my passion for helping others has grown into a mission and through this mission others have begun to catch the fire too. It is from this fire that the 1 Spark Foundation has grown.
If everyone would commit to doing just one Spark a day, imagine how we could change the world!
My prayer is that you, too, will be moved to join the army of Spark Givers. I guarantee you this one thing for sure, if you start giving of yourself, you will be blessed more than you can ever imagine. And remember, the only life that is truly worth living is the life that is spent serving others.
One spark can start a fire...