Hello everyone and welcome to episode 77. Before we begin, I need to let you know of 2 computer glitches affecting the podcast, both of which have been fixed. 1.) Prior episodes were only playing the most current episode. 2) You couldn’t leave a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Thanks to listeners who pointed out these two problems, which have now been corrected!
On to today’s episode.
Every now and then, many of us in our more reflective moods will wonder if how we are living really makes a difference. Are we impacting the world in any meaningful way?
To answer this question, I’m here today to tell you that it’s easier than you think to impact the world. I will give you several examples in today’s show, using listener feedback to 2 recent episodes of You Were Made for This. So please listen in.
We’ll start with several listener responses to episodes 71 and 72. Both were about how to help a grieving friend. I shared the story of my friend Martin whose wife died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm, and what I learned about caring for a friend suffering such a deep and profound loss.
Responses to episodes 71 and 72
Dear John, Listening to your podcast and reflecting on my own experience trying to help those who are grieving, I have seen where stepping out of our own comfort zone is often used by God to comfort others. It’s not easy, and it is a mystery how God uses our puny attempts for His purposes. Thanks for helping us think and ponder on these relationship issues. ~ A grateful listener
This listener is impacting the world by doing something that doesn’t come naturally to her, for the sake of other people. She’s making a difference in the world by aligning her purposes with God’s purposes. And what can be more impactful than that?
You can tell she is speaking from experience, and I wonder if she appreciates what a contribution she is making. I’ll read it one more time.
From a listener in New York
From Donna, a listener in New York, who was a friend to Martin and his wife from years ago:
Hello, John, Today, I had some free time, and decided to catch up on your last three podcasts. I was shocked and heartbroken as I heard you recount the sudden death of Suzanne Karrer. I remember her and Martin well…
Your story of Martin’s grief and Serena’s letter really touched me. I had been thinking of them recently and wondered where they were and what they were doing. I didn’t know they had left China, and only remembered Serena as a little pre-schooler.
Do you think that Martin would mind if you shared his address with me? I would like to send him a card. He may not remember us, but I would still like to reach out to him.
I did give her Martin’s contact information and I know he appreciated hearing from Donna. She impacted the world by moving past her own grief and shock to let Martin know she cared and felt his loss. What a tender heart Donna displayed. The world needs more tenderness and Donna sprinkled a little of it on top of Martin’s grief and sorrow. What a great and sweet way to make a difference in the world: sprinkling a little tenderness around.
From a listener who lost his mother
From Chris: The story of Martin’s loss of his wife Suzanne came on the heels of a major loss in his own life. He writes:
My own mother died eight days ago at the age of 89. She lived a good life, was a very good mother and a very good friend. And she was a great listener. She made each of her six children feel like they were her favorite. She was at peace until the last few days of difficult decline. I didn’t start grieving until 5 days later, at the funeral, when I walked in and saw her body for the first time in her casket.
I really appreciated the lessons today John! So I will arm myself with a few new things learned and perhaps it is time to make sure I can be there for dad as his time of grief and loneliness, which will likely endure significantly.
Chris is impacting the world by being there for his dad in his grief, even as Chris himself grieves. It’s an act of selflessness like this that makes the world a better place.
From a listener who lost her husband
Hi John, Really enjoyed this. Grieving is so complex… One thing I know for sure, LOVE is eternal. Suzanne and Martin’s love will never die and God has an amazing way of keeping us connected with our beloved. Martin and his daughter are in a very sacred space right now….somehow straddling two universes….
And with time and a little perspective, there can be joy in suffering. A very strange, upside down way of looking at grief….this life is truly a blip in the span of eternity.
It took me a long time to get to this place and I didn’t think I’d survive the pain of grieving….but God is good, God rescues. He rescued me.
Prayers for all of you. My deepest sympathies. Suzanne’s smile is breathtaking.
A widow impacts the world for good
Gina is impacting the world for good by sharing what she learned about God through her own grief. She is giving hope to Martin and people like him by painting a picture of what life will someday be like for him. Let me read her tender words again.
I shared Gina’s response with Martin and he wrote back to me,
“So true what she says about pain, “I never thought I would survive the pain of grieving.”
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.
To Impact the world is easier than you think when you reach out to connect with others in the midst of their struggles, even when you are struggling with the same things yourself.
Here’s what we can all do in response to today’s program.
We can follow the example of “Grateful Listener” and step out of our comfort zone, knowing that’s what God often uses to comfort others. That will impact the world.
We can be like Donna who opened her heart to the pain of another person, and respond in tenderness by connecting with them. That will impact the world.
We can be like Chris, and even in the midst of our own grief, seek to enter into the grief of another to care for them, even when we need care ourselves. That will certainly impact the world for good.
And you can try this
Lastly, we can be like Gina, who shared from the depth of her heart to give people hope from God in the midst of their unspeakable sorrow. Unspeakable sorrow she herself experienced. Giving people this kind of hope certainly impacts the world for good.
As always, you could let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act in similar ways to the four listeners described in today’s episode. In doing so, you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Our Relationship Quote of the Week
“Be the person who breaks the cycle. If you were judged, choose understanding. If you were rejected, choose acceptance. And if you were shamed, choose compassion. Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you. Vow to be better than what broke you— to heal instead of becoming bitter so you can act from your heart, not your pain.” ~ Lori Deschene
That’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.
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