Your Efforts Matter More Than You May Ever Know.
My friend Ambra has been struggling. She’s a Denver psychologist who works with severely traumatized children and their families. Every day, she is fighting against an ocean of pain and darkness to save the lives of children. It’s like she’s in a life-raft of support and compassion, and straining to haul dozens of drowning, desperate kids on board. She knows that if she gets them in to the boat, they will have a better future. But the boat is leaky, she is only one person, and she can't save them all. She agonizes over the ones she watches slip under: The ones that seem broken beyond repair, or who are trapped in toxic inter-generational systems of depravity that are too strong for her to break. Some days she doubts herself. Lately she feels like she’s loosing the battle.
I think of Ambra as I look at the photo on my kitchen counter, the one propped up beside a small painting that I recently bought at a fundraiser. It’s of a proud young woman, Gayla, holding up the painting that I now own. She’s a disabled orphan who lives in a group home in Armenia. Her painting has rosy pinks and blues glowing in a mystical tree of life on a summer’s day. It’s beautiful. I plan to hang it in my second child’s room, should I ever be so lucky to have another.
The only reason that this painting exists is because someone working in an Armenian orphanage cared enough to try and start a group home for disabled, orphaned adults to move in to after they aged out of the state orphanage. Their efforts rescued Gayla from the dirty, cold psychiatric hospital that would have been her only other option, and gave her a home. They raised donations from kind strangers to have an art teacher come in to teach weaving and painting, and buy her art supplies.
Now Gayla gets to sit by a sunny window, in a big house with a tree outside. She is with people who love her. She has a teddy bear on her bed, in a room she shares with her friends. She is happy because of the love that surrounds her. Her happiness rippled out through her heart to her hands to the paper, to me. It makes me feel happy to think about the possibility that a baby — my baby — might someday gaze up from a crib and absorb the beautiful message of love that came straight from Gayla's heart. It brings me hope.
The efforts of all the volunteers who helped Gayla have rippled out far beyond their original intention. They are now touching my life in a way that they probably never even considered. The truth is that everything we do rings an energetic bell that reverberates into the lives of others, even though we may not understand how. Our efforts matter.
For every child that Ambra has lost, swirled away into the darkness, she’s lifted countless others into her boat without even realizing it. Just the fact that she cares enough to try matters. Her presence in young lives allows them to experience small moments of love and goodness that shift something inside of them. Simple time in a safe space with a kind person becomes a soft tone that counters the harsh ringing of abuse that has been echoing in their families for generations. I believe that she is starting a new vibration in psyches that will reverberate and expand into subtle positive changes throughout their life, and which may ripple out into the lives of their eventual children, and their children’s children.
Long after Ambra’s time in this world has ended babies will be born with more peace and stability in their lives because of her efforts today, even though she feels like she is failing in the present. She matters, even if she doesn't always feel like it.
And so it is with you. Even though you may never witness the fruit of the seeds that you plant today doesn't mean they don't matter. Everything you do that is loving, generous, and helpful ripples out into the world, touching other people and making it a better place. The simple act of attempting to be decent, matters. Every time you practice patience, compassion, and love, it rings like a bell and spreads out to people that you may never meet, but who benefit from your kindness in mysterious and unexpected ways that you may never know.
Every moment is an opportunity to be fair, kind, and merciful. Every day is a new chance for you to be a dynamic center of love that touches other people. The world is already a better place because of your efforts. The world is a better place because you are in it.
With love and gratitude,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
P.S. If you are interested, you can learn more about The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) at https://www.soar-us.org/
P.P.S. You can learn more about the practice of Dr. Ambra Born, the best damn child psychologist in Northern Colorado, at www.reachinghope.org