I am one. I am one of 2, she and I; one of 4, my family of origin; one of 5, my nuclear family; one of 28, my extended family; one of 120, among my colleagues in one of my early jobs; one of 165, my high school class of 1955;, one of 10,000, in the town of my first 18 years; one of 66 million who voted for a candidate in 2016 and lost; one of 80 million who voted for a candidate in 2020 and won; one of 330 million in the United States; and one of 7 billion in the world. And yet, I am unique. There are no others just like me. Wherever I am, I am present and I have a voice. I came into the world one Thursday morning at 10:00 AM and I am still here. I am connected to my fellow human beings because of our humanity and our shared existence on the planet, in families, in communities, in countries and in the world at large. Each one of us is related in one way or another to all the other ones. We share space and time, pain and suffering, joy and grace.
Our lives have a common thread in that we are all creatures with lives as common and as diverse as one might be able to imagine. We all inhabit the same earth in different places and conditions. We arrived at different times for the most part. Some of us have been here longer than others, gifting each one of us opportunities to help other ones become twos, fours, and thousands who care about each other and the world we inhabit. One can influence the eco-system to help make it better and healthier or to make it worse and unhealthier. Each one can make a conscious choice. It was Dr. Albert Schweizer who said, “Help life where you find it,” words that inspired Dr. Larry Mellon who inspired thousands of others through his work in Haiti. I was fortunate to be one of those inspired by Larry and Gwen and their dedicated service to the people of the Artibonite Valley.
I am one who chose to work with students, teachers and parents, work that fueled my passion for helping others to learn, grow and change. In my work, I met an outstanding teacher from Mississippi who wore a pin that said, “I am changing the world, one student at a time.” She was one who saw each one of her students as worthy of her time, talent and care. She was one who gave of herself to change others who will make their lives and the lives of others better.
One day I met Elie Wiesel. I was one of a dozen who spoke with him one evening about his life and work including his books, “Night” and “Dawn.” His one life was spared when millions were exterminated. I learned what happens when people are silent in the face of oppression and exclusion. I am only one but I am one and I have a voice. I have a vote. I am one who speaks, writes, and works to help others find their voice and their place in this world. The power of one can influence another one. We see it every day, for good and for not so good.
Be one of the good ones!
Fred Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.” Be a helper.
You are one. I am one and together we can help change the world.