May 11, 2007

Making a Difference

Posted in Christian Life, Mission, My Personal Walk, Personal, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts at 9:41 pm by Dan Barnett

Who are those people in your life who have made the biggest difference?  I’ll bet you can count the most influencial ones on one hand.  I was thinking about this tonight as I thought of those in my life now who I have the chance to impact.  There are actually quite a few, men especially, who have a made a big difference in my life.  The funny thing is that I can’t remember some of their names.  I could if I really tried, but those are the ones who didn’t care if I knew them, rather the impact they made was important to them.  I’m trying to live my life in that way.  The men in my life who have had the biggest impact over the shortest amount of time are few.  My dad has made a huge difference throughout my life as well as others, but the ones who were here and gone are on one hand.  Let me list them for you and explain what they did for me.  They are listed as they enter my head, and have no rank.

1.  Cameron Morrow:  I met Cameron on my missions trip to Panama in June of 2000.  He wasn’t the boldest, yet he was leading 25 kids into the jungle of Panama City and into the wilderness of the Darien Jungle.  He wasn’t the most fit, as he would quickly let you know, but he had a spirit about him that just beamed with passion.  I can remember being at my boiling point shortly after we got to Panama.  I was so frustrated with a boy on my team who I was teaching the drama we were performing to.  I was ready to explode.  As teens, my age and younger at the time, approached me to get to know me I backed away.  I didn’t want to be bothered.  I can remember one girl who told me to “quit frontin”.  The next day Cameron approached me very candidly(at first) and changed my life from that day on.  He put his left hand on my right shoulder and said, “Dan, I have to tell ya.  When we got to Texas I was nervous.  As we learned the drama I kept wanting to give up.  But each time God turned my head to you and you had this big smile on your face.  Don’t ever stop smiling.”  Now, I have had some very rough times since then, but the words he so candidly spoke to me that day changed my mindset of life.  When I see how bad I have it at times, I realize my response is speaking to others who see me.

2. Eric Stricker:  In May of 1995, my parents bought their first house in Woodstock, IL.  A bunch of people showed up at our rental to help load up the truck to move us to our new house.  I can just remember Eric walking to the house with the biggest smile(kinda cocky looking smile), and I thought, “This guys is cool.”  Little did I know that I would get to know one of the most giving men I’ve ever met.  This man gave himself to life.  His impact bleeds from his wife and kids as they continue on without him.  He showed me to just be “cool” and live.  Just take it easy and relax.  Quit being so high-strung.

3. Marty Sobczak:  Marty was my coach for Highschool cross-country.  I wasn’t aware that he was a Christian until I had graduated.  This man lives his life to impact people and teach others.  Growing up as a pastor’s son in transition between churches at a crucial point in my life, I didn’t have the same type of dad as other kids.  My dad tried as hard as he could, and never gave up on me.  He was the one next to me in some of my darkest days.  But there was still a missing element.  Marty Sobczak stepped in without even trying to.  He showed me how to tke my natural abilities and stretch them to their limits and win.  I’ve never called him anything other than what he has always been to me, “Coach.”  That word says it all.

        Now, I look at my life and those I can impact.  I’ve learned that I can impact others more by just trying to be someone who makes a difference and not trying to be their coolest friend or the one friend they like to hang out with the most.  I try to just invest in people for one reason—-to make a difference.  Who has done that in your life?  Are you passing it on?


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