Sunday, July 21, 2013

Friendship and the Power to Change the World

It's barely 8:00 on Sunday morning, and I have walked for 30 minutes, prayed the Rosary (during my walk), and finished my morning prayer.  All of my boys are still asleep.  I cannot tell you how good this feels!  I want to share this with you, because it's new and it's happening because of the influence of one person. 

Yesterday, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone, and headed out the door at 6:45am to begin Day 1.  I arrived back home in 30 minutes sweaty and satisfied.  I dropped my gym membership about a year ago, and haven't done much of anything since then.  I just couldn't commit nor did I even want to.  Until two days ago.

Two days ago, I got together with a friend who has three boys (like me) and a 7-month-old baby girl.  She was wearing her workout clothes when we arrived, so I pressed about her exercise routine.  She told me she gets up early before her kids wake and walks/jogs for 20 minutes, and she's not a runner.  One of her earliest nicknames was "Turtle".  This blew me away.  She has one more little one than I do, is not "good" at running, and she was still finding a way to exercise! 

Just knowing that she was doing it, was all I needed!  She changed my world.  There was other fruit from the time spent together as well, and I found myself marveling at the impact she made on me in the span of a morning.

It just so happens that my boys and I have had a lot of friend time this week, and I felt similarly inspired and challenged after each encounter.  Feeling very blessed in friendship, pondering the impact of those friendships, and making concrete changes in my life because of them was the perfect thought environment to enter into the Living Life With Passion and Purpose talk by Matthew Kelly I attended yesterday.

He had a lot of compelling things to say about the voice of God, personal clarity, Jesus, and being who you should be, and I plan to ponder them for some time.  I highly encourage you to check him out if you are looking to change your life in a powerful and positive way. 

One of the things that really stuck with me was the idea of a Spectrum of Engagement.  In any given area of our life (marriage, parenting, work, play) we engage anywhere from 100% to not-at-all.  "We engage or disengage in EVERYTHING we do".  He discussed what their research has shown about the two qualities highly engaged people always have:

1.  They're committed to continuous learning.
2.  They're hungry for best practices.  (Who's the best in the world at this and what can I learn from them?)

He also discussed the idea of universal talent vs. unique talent.  Universal talent is something we can all do.  Our universal talent is the ability to make a difference in other people's lives.  But, because we all have it, we tend to de-value it.  This is in contrast to unique talent (being exceptional at something), which is the type of talent our culture is obsessed with.  "Our culture takes what's important and makes it trivial, and takes what's trivial and makes it important."

These ideas took me back to thinking about my friends.  My friends are highly engaged people.  Only I never would have thought to label them before.  This is what attracts me to them.  This is why they challenge and inspire me.  This is why I need to make a better effort (which in my case, is any), to spend time with them. 

I am the beneficiary of my friends' universal talent - Their ability to make a difference in the lives of others, and specifically, my own.  In my conscious thought, if I could choose between being the best in the world at something, or having the power to impact another's life for good, I would choose the second.  Every time.

But, in my subconscious mind, it is easy to fantasize about the first and overlook the second.  The "bests" in the world are easy to envy.  Their lives are so "pretty" from the outside.  But, this past week with my friends, and listening to Matthew Kelly reminded me of the power contained in friendship.

Fr. Scott Reilly says, "Every person is a world.  Change one person, you change a world." 

I don't know who is the best in the world at being a wife, a mother, or a friend.  But, I know who are the best in my world, and that's all I need to know.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for my friends, and the power of their example!!  Thank you for the opportunity to listen to Matthew Kelly speak yesterday and the seeds that were planted.  Thank you for friends who reach out, even and especially when it's not "their turn".  Please forgive my selfishness and lack of generosity.  Please help me to value what is important, devalue what is trivial, and know the difference.  Thank you for couch to 5K phone apps, and rosaries on podcast.  Thank you for Sundays and the freedom we have in this country to worship You without fear.  I love You and I thank You from the bottom of my heart for giving me companions on this journey who make me better.  Amen.


  1. That is so beautiful and inspiring! Thanks, Heidi!

    1. You are welcome, Stephanie! Thank you for being part of the inspiration to write it! See you soon...

  2. And once again...very inspirational!