When I read this post by Parashar in India today, I was inspired to share it with you because I think we all should read it and think about our ability to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our own little part of the world. We don’t have to be an actor, or a millionaire, or somebody big and famous. You and I sitting right here at our computers, wherever we are in the world, can get up, go out, open our eyes and hearts, and see a need. Make that plural! There are so many people in need of the blessings we have to give. They are all around us. We can help! Click on this link, read what “Parashar’s Tales” has to say, and then come on back to JanBeek. I’ll tell you a tale of my own… one about seeing, doing, giving, and making a difference that keeps on giving. It’s what life is all about!
My story is about Zahid. When I met him five years ago, he was a nineteen-year-old from Pakistan, living in a remote part of Montana, receiving medical treatment, and wanting to pass his GED. I was a recently retired educator who had spent 24 years in the classroom, a dozen or so years as an administrator, and a few years post-retirement working with illiterate adults – teaching them to unlock the codes to enter the world of printed words. My husband, recently retired and looking for a vacation destination in which to live, chose this fly-fishing mecca – and we came from California to south-west Montana – ready to enjoy our Golden Years. It didn’t take me long to get involved in the community. Among my passions is reading, so I joined the Friends of the Library. That’s where Zahid came into my life. He was here in the USA on a medical visa, receiving treatment for burns that had ravaged his body when he was a little boy. A remarkable family hosted him in Oregon about a decade ago when Save the Children selected him and sent him from Pakistan to a burn center in the USA for help with his scars and disfigurements. About a year later, he returned to his home – still needing treatment – but his VISA would expire, so he and his family worked for the next decade to try and renew the VISA in order to give him another chance for specialized treatment. By the time he obtained it, they had retired from Oregon to Montana. As fate would have it, we all ended up in this darling little community at about the same time. Zahid asked the librarian if she knew someone who could tutor him. She sent out an e-mail request to the Friends. I responded.
That’s the key, my friends. I responded! Five years later, Zahid has reached out to many as he set goals and accomplished each one with the help of people just like you and me. Found a tutor to help him (that was me – check!), obtained his GED (hooray – check!), received political asylum (check!), got a green card and a job (check!), pays his taxes just like you and me (check!), passed his driver’s test (check!), bought a car (check!), learned to change the oil and check the tire pressure and take care of his car with my husband’s help (check!), applied for and was accepted at a two-year college (check!), moved to dormitory housing at the college (check!), got a job with the school’s housing department to help pay his room and board (check!), successfully completed year one of college (check!), found a tutor for his pharmacy tech test (check!), passed the test to get into the pharmacy tech school at the college (check!), landed a job at the college pharmacy (check!)… The list goes on… and Zahid will continue to set his goals and accomplish them, checking them off one at a time, and looking back and staying connected with those who have helped him along the way ( including his parents back in Pakistan), thanking them in a multitude of ways. One day he will return to his home. His goal is to build a hospital in his hometown, to make treatment for boys like him possible right there someday. I have every confidence that down the road a ways he will check that off his list. It may not be in my lifetime, but I will have played a small part in each of those successes along the way. My heart is full as I see this young man moving forward to make a difference in his world.
We never know the ripple effect when we reach out to help someone. It continues into eternity. We never know… but God does! Can we change a nation?You bet! We can change the world. One person at a time. Get up, go out, look around. You have the future in front of you – needing the blessings only you have to give.
God Bless You!