Life is fleeting. Death, a certainty. Each of us is but a single one of hundreds of billions who have lived, are living, or will someday live on Earth.
Knowing this, then, is there anything we can really do to leave the world a better place?
To make it greater than it would have been without us?
To truly have an influence that makes a difference?
I believe we can. And I think we do it through the way we love. Through a commitment to care. To nurture. To comfort. To provide rescue, relief and reprieve. To serve without judging. To give freely and generously with no expectation of return.
This alone, like the flapping of a butterfly's wings or a stone dropped in a pond, creates the breath of a breeze; ripples that reverberate beyond what we can measure.
This is how the world is changed.
My oldest daughter lost her beautiful Gramma 'Rina last month. It was too soon. She was far too young. Her time on Earth cut tragically short. There was surely more she had to give. To do. To be. People left to touch. Journeys left to travel.
But while she lived, she loved with her whole heart. With a ferocity far greater than her tiny stature. With a zeal and a power that almost overwhelmed. She loved and she gave. She brought laughter and light to all who knew her.
She inspired. She elevated. She transformed.
She left behind family and friends who are shocked and shaken, despaired and anguished. Sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and more who will feel the void she left each and every day.
My daughter is one of those people. I am one of those people.
But I will take comfort in the fact that Marina made a difference. In my life and in the lives of countless others.
She lived. She loved. And the world was changed.