Friday, June 26, 2015

The Impact on a Life

There were a host of them on the playground that day, children of all ages and sizes. I watched them, running here, jumping there - active, enthusiastic, energetic, busy little souls. And impressionable; so very very impressionable! Have you ever stopped to consider the many people and situations and circumstances that have impacted your life? Have you ever paused to reflect on what all it is, exactly, that has contributed to making you who you are?

My husband was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The first three years of his life were spent there amongst the friendly, down to earth people in the community where his dad taught school. One family, in particular, welcomed their little family with open arms. They became like second grandparents - babysitting their children, helping them with work projects, basically accepting them as one of their own.

Over the years that tie has not been broken. Several weeks ago a member of the family in Pennsylvania passed away and our little family made the 4 1/2 hour trek for the funeral. I watched with something of a quiet awe as my husband stepped back into a segment of his past. People he hadn't seen for 20+ years stopped to shake his hand and re-acquaint themselves with "Marvin's son". Stories and happenings that hadn't been spoken of or even thought of for years re-surfaced and memories were stirred. I marveled at the impact on the life of a young child!

Around the same time we traveled to Arkansas for a week end. We ended up spending every precious minute of our time with family, but I felt the tug of the places and people that impacted my early years. It was there that my impressionable, young mind was shaped and influenced, and no matter what other situations and circumstances come along in my life, nothing can ever change the impact of those years.

More recently yet, we were in Virginia to be part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Faith Mission Home. Fifteen years ago in March I arrived at Faith Mission, a shy bundle of nervous excitement and apprehension, to begin a year of voluntary service at the home for mentally handicaped children. My year of working amongst God's special children left it's mark, and as I sat at the reunion, amongst the crowd of over 700 people, I marveled at the impact of one place upon so many!

It was there that I watched the host of enthusiastic, busy little children. As I watched, I wondered,"What will it be that will impact all these impressionable little lives? Will it be somone new they meet this very week end who takes an interest in them? Will it be listening to the resident's program that will leave it's memorable mark?"

You never know what might leave it's mark on the impressionable young lives around you. The smile that you flashed someone's way, the swing rides you gave with the "under dogs" and "under cats", the story you took the time to read, the little hand that you stooped to shake, the testimony you gave of what God has done for you....... Whether we realize it or not, we are shaped by the people and circumstances we encounter along life's way. The smallest thing that you may have done without a thought might very well end up making an impact on some life!

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