Just One Guy
“I‘m just one guy in this big ‘ol world. How much can I really affect things?”. This is a question I have pondered a lot in the past several months. I promised a while back that this blog would not become a referendum on alcohol or a dreary series of stories about the evils of drinking. However, there are things that I am learning in my new found sobriety that make me see the world through a new set of lenses. Some of these, I think, are worth sharing. In fact, one of the many lessons I have learned recently is that when I share things with others, I usually get something new out of it also. Kind of a “you get more by giving it away than keeping it” theory. That said, meet Sir Nicholas Winton!
If you don’t know who Mr. Winton is, don’t worry…neither did I. His story was shared in a post by Peak Prosperity called The Power of One. Peak Prosperity is a website/business dedicated to developing awareness and understanding of our world so that effective solutions to problems (economic, political, social, etc.) can be created and promoted. If your interested in those things, check out their website. Tons of really interesting and useful information and discussion! I should also note that one of the principals there is Adam Taggart, a big supporter of Victorian Farmstead and mentor of mine.
At any rate, back to Mr. Winton. Winton was on a skiing vacation in Switzerland in 1938 when he learned of the German aggression towards Jews called Kristallnacht. He cancelled his vacation and went to Prague to assist a friend that was helping support the Jewish population there. He also learned at that time that the British Parliament had approved the acceptance of European refugees, as long as they had a place to stay and a fifty pound deposit. Prior to the Nazis taking control of Czechoslovakia, Winton managed to single handedly rescue almost 670 Czech Jewish children and relocate them to foster homes in Britain.
He did this with no need or expectation of recognition. So much so, that nobody really knew what he did for over 50 years. In fact it wasn’t until his wife, whom he married after the war, found a ledger he used to keep track of all those kids years later. Wanting him to be recognized for this incredible humanitarian effort, she worked with a local TV station to arrange the program in the video below.
If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, I’m not sure what would. Winton’s story got me thinking about how much “just one guy” can accomplish in this world. Too often I have been stymied by the notion that I couldn’t affect any real or meaningful change because I was ‘just one guy”. As I have worked my way through the past several months of learning to live life on life’s terms, that notion has changed dramatically.
I spent most of my life doing things specifically for the recognition that I thought they would or should deserve. Here is a great example of how twisted my brain can work. In my first few months of sobriety, I got really frustrated by my sobriety “birthday”. Why? Because in my AA group, chips for sobriety birthdays are given out on the last Saturday of each month. My last drink was on July 3rd. This means that by the time I receive my chip each month I am only a few days away from reaching my next milestone. Horse crap! I want to be recognized for how great I am now. How sick is that???
Here is something else I have learned in my new, clear-headed state. Service to others, without the expectation of recognition, has a whole different set of rewards. I have found that little acts of kindness, however small I think they may be, can have a dramatic impact on others. Many times I won’t even realize the impact until much later, sometimes never at all. But they impact me. They keep me connected to my community. Looking for ways to be of service to others keeps me focused on a positive outcome.
I’m not writing this blog post to share stories of the service I have done. In fact, you won’t find any examples at all. My hope is that sharing Mr Winton’s story and what I got out of it will make someone else think about their place in this world and what they can do to make it just a little bit better. With all the stresses and fear we face every time we go outside in today’s climate, we need to do all we can to effect something positive to counter-balance the negativity. It is really a means of self-preservation.
I have found that when I look for those opportunities I see something else. I see what others are doing. I see more of the good in the world. I am a happier person. Can you imagine what this world would look like if everyone did one good deed a day? or a week? or even a month? I am “just one guy”. And if all I do is make on impact on one or two others, that’s pretty cool. And if they do the same, the next thing you know we have the Faberge Effect!
You didn’t think I would use the Faberge Effect and not give you a dose of Heather Locklear, did you??? The only thing more awesome than that is the beginning of the clip featuring the “Where’s the Beef?” lady! The gifts just keep on coming….