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Ronda Stevenson

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ripple Effect in a Small World

You've had moments of odd coincidence in your life, right? You've met a person that randomly has a connection to you, or you have been thinking of something only to have it mentioned by someone else or you're singing a song then suddenly there it is being played on the radio! Yes? Random coincidence?

As I mentioned in a previous article, the adoptive family of one of my foster babies still remains close to my heart and maintains contact and visits with me. A few years ago, early in our relationship, I was enjoying a family dinner at their home with 'our' baby, his new mom and dad, his new sister, who had just months before been adopted from Ethiopia, and his new grandparents on the mom's side.

Conversation led to questions about my own four children, what they're like and what they do. I told them that my oldest daughter, Destyn, works for chef Mario Batali in Las Vegas. There's a gasp from the table! The new grandmother is cousin to Mario! Plenty of conversation and wow, that's amazing! What are the odds?

Conversation continues to inquiries about my youngest daughter. I mention her name, Savannah Joy. Dead silence around the table. Everyone looks at each other. Expressions surprised. Savannah Joy is the name given to their newly adopted daughter from Ethiopia.

Twenty years ago my oldest son, Jeff, met his wife, Nicole, in Germany while he was in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Ramstein AFB. Nicole was vacationing in Germany visiting her brother who was also in the Air Force. Her family lived in California and we lived in Washington. These two young people met and fell in love a world away from their homes.  Conversations with Nicole eventually revealed that her father had taught at my alma mater, Glendora High School, in southern California. Glendora is a very small town in a suburb of Los Angeles County and to my knowledge very few people have even heard of  Glendora.

I admit, these aren't earth shaking examples of amazing coincidences, but it does get me thinking about how very small the world is.  We all have probably had those odd moments of, "Wow, that's weird."

With the age of technology, our world IS becoming smaller and smaller. We can make a comment and instantaniously have it available to millions of people around the globe. It used to be that a whispered comment to a friend might spread across the neighborhood back fences or at a dinner party within a few days. But NOW hundreds, thousands, even millions of people are privy to some of our most intimate thoughts...just click a button and it's 'out there' for all to see.

Every day we are keenly aware of atrocities commited, starvation across whole continents, natural disasters around the world, and political power struggles leading to the rise and fall of powerful figures. We see the faces of starving, abused and neglected children, hear of thousands of young children who have been abducted and forced into sexual slavery, look into the eys of elderly folks struggling to keep the heat on and stay alive in the winter, watch pathetic animals being removed from abusive caretakers. The atrocities, the fears, the suffering and the loss surround us, both far away and right next door.

My point is that the world and all of the people in it are literally 'at our fingertips'. How can any one of us sit by comfortably and be detached as we watch the lives and the tragedies unfold right before our eyes? It can be overwhelming and we grow weary from it. Naturally, feelings of, "What could I possibly do, just one person, that could change any of that horror or relieve any of that pain?"

To that I say, "Get involved". Reach out and do something, just one litte thing to make a difference. Help one person, one family, take just one moment. Touch one life in a positive way and it will make a difference. When we toss a rock into a pond it doesn't just go 'splash', it sends a ripple that grows and grows. One positive, caring gesture reaches so far beyond that changes the world in that moment. It changes us in that moment.

And in this small world of ours, you never just may have a personal connection to that person passing by you. Maybe we, as individuals, can't fix the world, but we can start a ripple.

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