Have you heard of the Chaos Theory, which suggests that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world? I have to admit; at one time this seemed a little outrageous to me as I wondered how on earth this could be true. Today, however, it makes perfect sense. You see, I just left a conversation with a gentleman who is battling a terminal illness. The insight he unknowingly shared was remarkable.
Granted, he has lived a storied life filled with amazing accomplishments, and we got to touch on some of the fascinating highlights. Yet it wasn’t until he turned to me and said, “Jaren, do you have any idea the lives you touch every day?” that I began to truly understand the Chaos Theory. Knowing his question was rhetorical, I sat thinking as he expanded on what he has discovered.
He said that he had no idea whatsoever how some of the little things we do create the greatness on our world today. He commented that it is so heartbreaking how we move through life unaware of the influence we have on others. If we knew, we would all carry a greater sense of fulfillment. Many have come to him recently and, after learning of his health condition, recited event after event where his influence altered their life course for the better. My mind’s eyes saw clearly how a tiny wind of change can, in fact, become a gale force over time.
As we were wrapping up, a second word of wisdom inadvertently escaped his mouth as he commented, “Have you ever realized how beautiful our world is?” Not knowing this was also rhetorical, my answer was slightly vague and softly spoken; “I think so?” When you realize today may be your last, there is an explosion of the senses. You hear the birds, see the flowers, and smell the freshness of the breeze after a storm. You feel the heart of another, understanding their existence and wanting nothing more than to be with them. Everything and everyone becomes significant. We already think family and friends are, but when time has limits, the bar is raised. Even a stranger plays a role. A touch, a taste, a view, a smell, and a sound glisten, actively becoming a part of our lives.
While this simple conversation altered my understanding that the Chaos Theory may well be based in fact, the complexity of my appreciation–now fully realizing life’s humble gestures of gratitude–will never end.
Dear friend, the flutter of your wings amid the storms of the day has forever changed the course of a life! Thank you, and God bless.