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One person CAN

     Watching the ceremonies and celebrations of the lives of John McCain and Aretha Franklin, it struck me as never before: one person CAN make a difference.

     Remember the friend who came to your rescue when you thought there was no way out? He or she made a difference in your life. The fellow who looked up and said a cheery good morning to me in the parking lot this morning brought light into my morning. He made a difference.

     It's encouraging to think about this making a difference. We're going through a rough time in our politics and our country and even in our most respected institutions: the church, college and professional sports, our government, the entertainment world. Sexual abuses, divisive politics, a new-found fear of speaking openly in case our thoughts are not welcome. . .

     With the eulogies and remembrances of McCain and Aretha, I understand better. One person CAN make a difference. Most of us won't be recognized by the media or have week-long funeral services broadcast on TV. But most of us will be remembered by the many lives we've touched—one way or another.

     Paul—my son with a form of Asperger's—makes a difference as he waves merrily to the  people he passes in his wheelchair. They smile and wave back. To a passing woman, he says, "You look very pretty today." She stops in her tracks, the look in her eyes, "Who, me?" Then a happy smile lights up her face.

     As I struggle to push Paul's wheelchair through the door at the Y, an elderly man with a walker reaches over to hold it open for us. Or an eight-year-old boy does, while his parents wait patiently. . .  So many good people. So many people making a difference.

     And you are one of them. The difference you make is unique to you. A sister-in-law in Wisconsin whom I've met only once or twice posts cheerful greetings every morning on Facebook, sharing her day and the beauty around her with pictures. She makes a difference.

     Craig and Christy and Bryan, my other three children, make a huge difference in my life—and in the lives of their friends, families and co-workers. Craig bucks me up when I'm down and praises me to the skies every chance he gets. Christy pitches in to help with Paul so I can have "time off" and keeps me company as she makes the pitcher of iced tea for our tea-drinking wonder, Paul. Bryan and his wife, Lettie, hold family parties at their home—fun evenings out with family and friends. If something needs fixing, Bryan or Craig are there to do the job.  I'm a lucky mother.

     When I hear about the wondrous deeds and amazing lives of others, I sometimes feel inadequate. I can't possibly measure up. But now I know, I don't have to. What each one of us does, whether recognized by the masses or by one person, makes a difference. Sometimes it's only for a few seconds, but it's there; sometimes we come through in a major crisis for someone who needs us. We do our best. That makes a difference. 

     So I give my thanks to all who have made—and are making—a difference in my life. I give my thanks to all who are making a difference in the lives of others. I give my thanks to all of you "one persons" who daily make a difference, and I thank John McCain and Aretha Franklin for reminding us to keep on making a difference.

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