Jenny is a semi-retired chiropodist who is giving her time to make life a little bit easier for those forced to live on the street. She likes to send them off with a new pair of socks and has been buying new shoes for those who need them, but that was getting a bit beyond her financially. She’s now being helped with donations through Routes to Roots, a Christian organisation ministering to homeless people, regardless of their faith.
One man said to Jenny, “I can’t believe you do this for us”. She replied, “Everyone has a gift and if we all used our gifts to help people wherever we are, the world would be a better place”.
School was a struggle because he was dyslexic. He remembers his report cards were peppered with the word ‘Fail’. But his 4 foot 10 inch Jewish grandmother refused to see him as a failure and would constantly tell him, “Brian, you have the gift of curiosity”.
He said, “You just need one person, one person who believes in you”. That one person gave him the courage to believe in himself. Curiosity became the fire that fuelled his rise to become one of Hollywood’s outstanding producers. In 2007 he was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”
He has now written a book called, The Curious Mind. It shares his insights from 35 years of interviewing people across the broad spectrum of life, curious about their story and what made them tick. He has interviewed artists, spies, members of the royal family, politicians, scientists and anyone who sparked his curiosity. And all because someone believed in him.
While Wilberforce continued to petition parliament, Hannah knew that would never be enough, the minds and hearts of the population must be changed. She took on that role. She wrote and published many pamphlets and articles encouraging people to see the African slave as a human being, a brother, son, father, mother, daughter.
Her strong poetic abilities enabled her to paint a picture which people related to, and it worked. Eventually thousands of petitions were signed for the abolition of slavery and presented to parliament by Wilberforce, which help sway the members towards abolition. Who can count the generations of people whose lives were changed because she used her gift of writing to change the hearts of a generation?
“What will I do with the fact that I am only one? I will realise that everyone who has changed history was also only one.” Craig Lounsborough
We so often underestimate the power of what we have to offer. Whether washing feet from the corner of a church hall, inspiring and challenging with the written word, being that one person who believes in someone, or providing a cup of tea and scones for lonely people, we can all make a difference wherever we are, with whatever we have.
Wherever your neck of the woods, there is someone who needs a human touch, a listening ear, a hand with the gardening, a lift to an appointment or someone to give them time … time that lets them know they are valued. That might be your child or grandchild or the elderly person at the end of the street, but the gift of our time is often the most costly and most valuable gift of all.
And if you can’t find anyone, nursing homes are scattered with people who have no one to visit, no one to care, beyond the all too busy staff, no one to brighten their day and connect them to the world they feel so separated from.
As Jenny Donovan says, “Everyone has a gift and if we all used our gifts to help people wherever we are, the world would be a better place”.