Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hanging Around With New Friends

As a child I had certain friends that my parents just did not like. There were two girls in particular. "You get up to no good when you are with them," my mother said. I couldn't deny it. I was just a better kid when I hung around with my other friends.

This is true even if you are an adult  which is why people in recovery from drugs and alcohol are encouraged to make new friends. Who you hang with affects you.

So there I was at the Washington, D.C. TEDMED conference. So many people there using their intelligence, their creativity, their energy and in some cases their own money to make the world a better place. "Create." "Improve." "Solve." These are words I heard over and over.

Just like when I was a kid, this mind set started to rub off on me.  I started thinking more about how to leave the world a better place. What can I create, improve or solve that would make a difference?

People at TEDMED are doing this in a big, obvious way: airbags to prevent hip fractures, new kinds of skin grafting, toys to help disabled children become mobile. These are all great things. But not all of us can do that kind of stuff, right?

Mother Teresa (who I'm pretty sure would be invited to do a TED talk if she weren't dead) said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

I believe this is where true transformation occurs for both the receiver and the giver: doing small things with great love. When we do anything with great love we are transformed.

Any of these TEDMED speakers will tell you that their work is not only transformational for the world, but for themselves--because they do it with great love.

And you pretty much have to love it when you put that much time into it. I say this both as a hospital chaplain and as a writer and as a TEDMED speaker. It's just too damn hard unless you love it.

So what about you? What small thing are you going to do today with great love? How will you be transformed?

My TEDMED talk, September 2014