sometimes we are called to take a chance. if you’re like me and being challenged to take a risk sounds more scary than exhilarating, you probably know exactly how you like your morning coffee, you probably would rather rewatch “The Office” for the forth time before you try you’re cards at “Parks and Rec,” and you probably play it safe most of the time. or maybe you are comfortable with risks when it comes to the adrenaline rush of driving way over the speed limit on a one lane road or jumping off a bridge that’s suspended just a little too high, but not so much when it comes to taking the risk of letting someone know who you truly are. I think that no matter how reckless or how daring we are, there’s always some type of risk or leap of faith that will be so big, it scares us, maybe so much so, we let it pass. the cost of what we may lose, far outweighs the beauty of what we may gain. but what if we were a little more brave, a little more uncomfortable with our stagnancy?
my car is 12 years old so I don’t have an aux cord. although I sometimes get tired of listening to ads between songs on the radio, I love listening to morning talk shows. one morning on the Jeff & Jen show (94.1), they told stories of how little chance in-counters ultimately lead to big life changes.
they shared stories of true love, random kindness, and bravery. they shared stories of people meeting their spouses and helping lost foreign travelers and even being inspired to join the marines. they told stories of meeting on planes and ski lifts and in bars.
but my favorite was the story of a woman so broken and worn from what seemed like a hopeless battle against cancer she was ready to give up on life. while she was anxiously sitting with her daughter in the hospital waiting room to tell her doctor she was ready to stop chemotherapy, an unknown woman approached her and gave her some of the most important and impactful words she’d ever heard. the stranger told the woman her own testament, she told her not to give up her fight because she is strong and capable, and she told her that one day she can and will beat her cancer. after these words of encouragement, the woman felt so empowered she changed her mind and continued her chemotherapy. now this woman, that once had felt defeated, conquered her cancer & her fear and lives happily & healthily.
these stories are examples of how doing small things like investing a little time and compassion into a someone’s life can make a big difference. one person summed up these chance in-counters in a single sentence: “I don’t even know [their] name and my life turned 180 degrees” (Jeff).
everyone in these stories were brave. they spoke when they may have been uncomfortable and listened when they may not have liked what the other had to say. they were vulnerable. they were open. they allowed a complete stranger to come into their lives even though they were foreign and they entered someone else’s life even though it was uncharted territory.
maybe these encounters are supernatural, some divine intervention like a “guardian angel” sort of thing. maybe it’s serendipity. or maybe it’s not chance at all and it actually makes perfect sense that a stranger is sometimes is a safer place. I guess all that really matters is that they happen and that they’re beautiful and wonderful because they do something truly amazing. maybe you’ll have the opportunity to make or experience this kind of impact. or maybe you won’t, maybe you will just bring a little light to someone’s day but that matters too. the little things count, they add up to really really big things.
so next time you’re on UGA Orbit bus or forced to share a table with someone at the Jittery Joes in the MLC or you have any opportunity to get to know someone one new, just freaking take it !! be a little more brave and a little more open. you never know how you could change someone’s life for the better, or even how they could change yours !!