I want to tell you about my friend.
Her real name starts with M, but she goes by Funky Peacenik. She’s curvy and tattooed–I’m actually pretty jealous of her tattoos–and strongly opinionated about beer. She will punch you in the mouth if you admit to shopping at Walmart or choosing GMO over organic foods (she’s a Buddhist. She’s not punching anybody. She talks big, though) and goes religiously to her local farmer’s market. She’s a wizard with a camera, and does love on an epic and courageous scale that I can only halfway wrap my brain around.
She’s also personally–specifically, individually, and personally–responsible for an insane percentage of the amount of good that gets done in my corner of the world.
Here’s what I mean:
Each year, I coordinate the Buffalo Stampede. A group of us get together, adopt a family through a local children’s organization, and then gift-bomb the heck out of them. Over the last two years we’ve donated something like 88 individually wrapped gifts, plus just short of $500 for food. Peacenik introduced me to the children’s organization–so she’s pretty much the Prime Mover for that entire drive.
Each year, Moon Man and I sponsor a Back-to-School Buddy through the same organization, providing school supplies and clothes and “any little extras you want to toss in” for a kiddo whose family needs a little help getting ’em set up for school success. Last year we sent a 3-year-old to his first day of preschool with more Spiderman stuff (his favorite superhero) than is even holy, and this year an 8-year-old started the 3rd grade tricked out in so much pink (her favorite color) that I think my eyes actually stopped registering that color. Again, Peacenik is the reason we know about that organization at all. So add those two kids to her tally.
Peacenik herself works at a food bank, and y’all know how I am about food banks. So over the last few years, thanks to donation bins at the grocery store and a Stone Soup Supper and Food Drive we did here for my birthday last year, I reckon there have been a good 300-400 pounds of food donated to that food bank. Plus she hooked me up with appropriate outfit tips for a swankypants fund drive silent-auction-and-restaurant-sampling gala that benefitted the bank, so I got to feel cute and philanthropic. So given their pounds-to-meals conversion ratio, add somewhere around 300 meals provided to hungry people to her karma tally–and that’s just the meals added on my watch. She reaches hundreds of people every day at her job, so feel free to do complicated multiplication to get her actual karma points.
On a personal note, we held a garage sale to benefit my mother a few years back–Dad died without life insurance, and funerals are expensive. Peacenik brought over a giant shipment of items to donate for sale, and then turned around and bought a bunch of stuff herself; so let’s conservatively guess that she added $100-150 in karma to her pile there.
And did I mention that she is now thinking of fostering puppies? Puppies, for crying out loud.
So here’s the bottom line: sometimes Peacenik gets a little down, as we all do from time to time, about whether she’s having any real impact on the world and whether her attempts to be a decent human being outweigh her bad hair day, grumpy mood, or oversleeping the alarm clock. And Peacenik, honey, if you’re reading, this, I’ve got about 100 Christmas presents, $500 in Christmas food money donations, two fully outfitted Back-to-School buddies, about 300 meals for the hungry, and $150 in garage sale cash–plus puppies–that say that yes, you are in fact making a difference. A great big, gigantic, enormous, amazing difference.
And because BuffaloTracts readers are amazing people, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit, Peacenik, if some folks read this and then turned around and said “huh, y’know, that Back-to-School Buddy thing sounds cool. I wonder if anyone in my area does that?”, or “Y’know, I should really donate to my own local food bank this week”, or “OMG FOSTER PUPPIES. Count. Me. In”.
So yeah, I know sometimes the day is stupid and long and full of mean people being crabby, and I know sometimes you have to bear the brunt of that. I know sometimes running away to hide in the wilds of Canada sounds like a vastly superior plan, and I won’t stop you if you decide to pack up and go.
But if you hear nothing else today, please hear this: you make a difference. You have made a difference. You have inspired others to make a difference, whether you really pieced together the direct chain of influence or not.
You are changing the world for the better, every single day.
And nope, I’m not just talkin’ about Peacenik anymore, Dear Reader. 😉
So this one’s for Peacenik…and this one’s for you. Sit down sometime and think about the good in the world that can be traced directly back to you and your influence. I think what you find may surprise you.