Before I properly get into today’s post, I just want to say a huge thank you to those who reached out and offered words of understanding and encouragement on my last post. I want to write back to each and every one of you because none of you had to say anything, but like good friends, you did, and I have to say how much it meant to me. I’ve been a little absent around the blogosphere this past week because of the biggest arts festival ever happening right now (post to come!), and friends in from out of town who I get to see once per year… but I will definitely be visiting/writing/commenting back to each of you very shortly. Just had to say how thankful I felt last week to be part of such a caring community. ❤
Now, onto a new week! Close to six months ago, I had the honour of writing something for ItStartsWith.Us. I wrote about the definition of the word “success” and how we choose to measure it in our own lives in ways other than monetarily. If you’re not familiar with the project, ItStartsWith.Us is a group of people across the globe headed by the wonderful Nate St. Pierre, who band together and make it a focus to have a positive impact in the lives of those around them. “Each and every one of us has the ability to change the world by touching lives in this way. And when we hear stories about the positive things others are doing, we become more aware of the opportunities we have to make a difference for the people around us.” The team get an email each week with a small, 10 or 15 minute “mission” – things like buying coffee for the stranger in front of you, writing a letter, baking cookies for your neighbours, or telling someone how much they mean to you. Little things that, when you think of them happening all over the globe, add up to make this world a little bit better. “Being a part of the team is always free, and there’s no pressure to do the weekly missions. Do them if you want, skip them if you want. I like to think of them as a gentle reminder to keep our eyes open to the good we can do as we walk through this life.” It’s a project like this that makes me proud to be involved.
Think about what would happen if our mission for the week was to write a brief letter of encouragement to a terminally ill child. We pick the biggest special-needs hospital in the country . . . and every child in that hospital gets 50 letters. What will every postal worker say when they deliver 20,000 letters to that hospital in a single week? What will all the staff members say when they see the effect on all the kids? What will all the family members say when they’ve been touched with such a demonstration of love from strangers? None of these people will ever forget what happened to them that week, and they will tell the story to others for the rest of their lives. And what did it cost you? 15 minutes and the price of a stamp.
There’s also the Love Bomb project – a division of ISWU -a group that comes together every week to drop hundreds of “love bombs” (in the form of a simple comment left on a blog) on those who need it most. This has only been going a few months, but so far, we’ve dropped love bombs on new parents whose newborn babies have passed away; young girls whose everyday life is a battle against depression, the inner critic relentlessly professing her worthlessness; someone living with MS in enormous fear of its worsening; and, recently,a beautiful young artist recently diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative and incurable eye disease that will eventually cause her to lose her vision altogether. We know it’s near impossible to take away the pain and distress of situations like this – but when someone suffering sees an outpouring of hundreds of comments from around the world, telling them someone cares, it really makes a difference. Signing up and taking part only takes five minutes per week, and I’d love if some of you hopped on board with this. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I needed to prioritise my time and make sure I was spending it on things that mattered – and let’s face it, how much time do we spend online surfing Facebook, reading posts, updating statuses…? We’re bloggers. We live online. We can all take five minutes out of our week to make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate than us.
I’ve been part of the blogging community for a little while now, and I feel blessed to belong to a group of such kind, generous, compassionate and determined souls. I’ve seen people band together in the past for a good cause, and it’s been nothing short of astonishing. The support this community shows for each other is remarkable – through the good, through the bad, and through the downright competitive!! If ItStartsWith.Us and the Love Bomb Project aren’t already on your radar, and I know many of you are already on board, please take a second and think about how little effort it can take to contribute toward making a huge difference in someone’s life.