Yesterday, I got a call from a friend who was driving home from his parents’ vacation cabin in the Alps. He asked me whether I saw the photo he sent (I had not). When I found the photo — of a page out of a handwritten journal that attached a card I had sent to his parents — I was not sure what I was looking at.
He explained that for the past 30 years, his family has been keeping a “diary” of memories they made while they were staying at the cabin. When his parents were there last March, the French government issued a 2 month stay-at-home order to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Residents were permitted to leave home to buy essentials, but because there was no hand sanitizer available, his parents were afraid to leave. Eventually, I was able to procure some here and I mailed it to their cabin, along with a cheery card bearing a photo of the cherry blossoms blooming at the Tidal Basin. They were extremely appreciative and sent me an email thanking me for the package. And apparently, my card and this story are now part of their family record.
Knowing that you made a significant difference for someone else feels really good, and there are several ways you can make a difference, even during a pandemic. Even a small gesture can make a difference for someone, but if you want to make a difference that is long-lasting, you have to build something that will endure. It starts with an action, and you can start small, but building something that will make a long-lasting difference generally requires more time and more money.
Let’s make 2021 count. What can you do this year that will make a difference for your family or for others in need?