Over the last few days several people have asked me, in a serious way, what wisdom I have after 50 years. At first I laughed it off, then I began to think, yesterday I almost started to cry. I had gotten another sentimental note (some were texts, emails, or birthday cards) from a friend. Some notes were expected (like from my mom) but the ones that accumulated in my sentimental reservoir until it began to overflow were from unexpected sources.
So this is the wisdom these notes taught me from the last 50 years, “You NEVER know the impact of the things you do.” Over the years there have been people and activities I just knew were going to have long lasting impact. They have melted away like mist in the dawn. Then there were the situations from which I didn’t expect much result. I may have grudgingly gotten involved, I may have just happened into the person’s life and moved on; many times I undervalued an interaction and had low expectations. Again and again those are the people saying, “…thanks so much for the impact you had on my life.” In return I sometimes feel like, “what did I do?” Sometimes I even wonder, “…if they only knew how I felt back then.”
What does it mean? “We cannot control the results, we can just control our action.” Or “our job is not to create outcomes, but just to be faithful.” Yet, true faithfulness will always produce results – just not always the ones we expect. You never know… so you must always be.