What impact could you have on the world if you didn’t speak English? Or, if you lived on a remote island with no internet, phone, running water, or even electricity? Could you influence the world with little to no reach? And, of course, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, arthritis, migraines, and other illnesses limit your reach even further, right?
Most of us would say, yes.
Our diagnosis – or diagnoses (more than one) – can definitely affect our ability to serve others. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
Take a look at Eroni Kumana. In 1943, he was one of two men who sacrificed personal safety to carry a forbidden message 35 miles across enemy territory in a small dugout canoe. As a native of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, he likely had no idea of the message’s crucial importance. All he knew was this: The U.S. servicemen he’d helped to rescue needed HIS help.
Kumana’s act of valor would’ve had merit no matter who benefited from his actions. But, fortunately for the free world, his efforts rescued a man who would become the 35th President of the United States – John F. Kennedy.
Kumana died recently at the age of 93 (or 96 depending on the news source). His life was filled with fishing, boat making, and subsistence farming. More than anything, he was known to share his infectious smile.
If asked in his 20s, he likely would’ve been the first to say that his future actions would have little impact on his community — much less the world. Yet, circumstances proved otherwise.
What circumstances surround you?
Here’s a statement I want you to keep in mind:
You are more than
the sum of
Think that your actions can’t possibly benefit someone else because of your disability? Take a look at Angela who endured pain as she drove a bike 800 miles across Ireland to raise Fibromyalgia Awareness. (And, yes, she has fibromyalgia.)
But, don’t miss the point. Acts of valor don’t have to be worthy of the national news. In fact, acts of valor can be very uncomplicated. Bringing a simple smile to someone else’s lips has value beyond measure. Random acts of kindness spread goodwill, good health, and good relationships.
To get you started, here are a few ideas of simple ways to widen your circle of influence.
- Pray for others (and be gracious enough to accept prayer in return).
- Volunteer for local churches, support groups, community centers, environmental causes, etc. where your help is needed. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making calls, folding newsletters, or stuffing envelopes.
- Offer to take someone on an errand. Or pick up something they need as you run errands.
- Call someone just to listen. They’ll be there when you need a listening ear, too.
- Everyone likes mail. Drop a card, postcard, or even a small gift in the mail to someone to brighten his or her day.
Are you as fascinated by Kumana’s heroic actions as I am? To read more about the rescue of JFK, check out this BBC article.
Never underestimate the wide-reaching affects your actions can create. I’m sure you have much to say on the subject. Do you participate in random acts of kindness?
Please share your ideas in the comments below!