Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making a Difference

“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away .” – James 4:14

Every day at Hope House we have opportunities to make a difference in someone else’s life. Sometimes a profound and lasting difference, more often we just make another human being’s day a little better or brighter. A smile, a kind word, and friendship offered in a genuine manner—these are little things that can let someone know they are valued and important to us. A respectful conversation, remembering someone’s name and welcoming them back indicate they are considered part of our Hope House family.

I think this is why the volunteers at Hope House are so special, why they are so dedicated and why I am so particular about who volunteers there. This ministry is unique. Do we think we are earning our way to heaven? No, we consider our service the outward evidence of our deeply held faith. One of our early volunteers was a kind young man named Daniel Bartle. He came to us from his high school classroom twice a week for a year or so. He smiled, he laughed, and he made our days sunny and entertaining. You should have seen him trying to hang up baby clothing on little tiny hangers! He was a special volunteer who made a difference during his time with us.

Dan’s life was exceptional—he worked hard at getting into the Naval Academy at Annapolis, he was a congressional page and he was valedictorian of his high school class. When he graduated from Annapolis, he became a Marine officer and continued his education by learning how to fly helicopters. Dan was a man of honor and devotion to duty, dedicated to making a difference in this world, and he did. Anyone who knew him remembers him with much love and respect. Captain Daniel Bartle passed away when his helicopter went down in Afghanistan last week. Dan touched many lives in this world during his short time with us. We can learn from his passing that now is the time to reach out and make a difference. Don’t wait, look around you and see who you can “touch” today.

In honor of Dan, make a difference today.

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