Tag Archive | giving

Did you know you can change the world?


The power to give and help and bring change is within us all. I am not unique; I try to do what I can when I can as do thousands of others everyday. I’ve seen people reach out, perhaps without even realizing they are adding value to humanity. The man who helps an elderly woman empty her groceries in the checkout line at the market has added value to humanity. The woman who extends her hand in friendship to someone without a friend has added value to humanity.

When I was a small child my mother would tell me I was going to make the world a better place and I believed her because she was one who made the world a better place. I learned well watching my mother as I grew. I learned to value others, to share what I could and do no harm. She was selfless, not a martyr by any means, but there were many times she went without for the sake of another. I remember thinking she was an angel. She hid her wings well.

imageShe taught me to value life and love and freedom. She taught me to share and care and have faith. She looked me in my eyes and said she believed in me. She really did think I would make the world a better place and I have tried every day since to do just that. The values and the morals she taught me have been with me all my life through, I’ve always tried to be true to them, in doing so I was being true to myself and honoring my mother. I knew I needed to be an example, I knew if I wanted others to learn the lessons my mother had gifted me with, I had to do more than simply live a good life.

I was open with my faith, never afraid to be witness through both word and deed. Actions often speak louder than words and I wanted to be heard. As the years passed I did what I could to help others, but it wasn’t until I had a child of my own did I truly understand everything my mother had said to me. When I looked at him, I simply knew he would one day change the world. I raised him and taught him as my mother had taught me and he grew to be a good man. I saw the same thing in the eyes of each of my children. They are my greatest contributions to humanity. They showed me a world within our world. I never knew such a place existed until I saw it in their eyes. Two of my sons are challenged, bright and wonderful, but challenged with ups and downs of Autism and Bipolar.

I was told they would never do the things they can do. They have surpassed expectations once had of them and overcome limitations once placed on them. Together we use what we have learned to help others. We volunteer our time and our hearts to not only the autistic community, but the world. Eradicating ignorance is their platform. I spend my days educating, helping and healing parents who are where I once was. They spend time mentoring their children, showing them the potential they have, teaching them to accept themselves and be strong and proud of who they are.

I share all I have learned while learning more still as I continue along this amazing journey. Sometimes I admit to tiring of it all. Answering questions and trying to undo damage and misunderstanding caused by an uniformed world isn’t always easy. My heart has hurt and my tears have fallen, just when I think I cannot make a difference, when that little voice whispers into my heart telling me I’m wasting my time, telling me I am fooling myself to think any of it matters I’ll open my mail to a heartfelt thank you from someone my words have touched.

There was a day I almost quit; divine intervention had other plans for me. I received a letter fromimage a mother I’d helped through a difficult time in her life, in the letter she thanked me and thanked my son. She said everything had changed since we’d last spoken. They found what we had found and she was thanking me for it. In closing, she wrote the words that have kept me going during those moments I’ve found myself wanting to quit. At the bottom of the page it was written, “You and your son have changed our entire world and made it a better place,” I held the note and heard the words my mother once spoke echo in my heart, “You are going to make the world a better place.”

I know this was only one person but if I have helped even one then I have done something worthy in this life. I will never stop doing what I do as long as I am able. I give my time, my heart and my voice. I don’t ask for payment, the thanks and the changes I see are payment enough. Knowing my children are learning how to give of themselves through the example I set for them, the same one my own mother set for me makes me rich in comparison to many. Any gifts God blessed me with I try to use to his glory. My words I gladly give, my time I gladly share, and if there is anything within my power I can do for another I will try.

It is rather odd to say I believe I have added something of value to humanity, but it is what I have spent my life trying to do. I don’t feel deserving of recognition, I don’t feel as though I’ve done anything better or more than any other, but I must admit I feel a satisfying peace within me knowing I have done all I could do in this life to better the lives of those around me.

It doesn’t take an effort of great magnitude to do something of great magnitude. Something seemingly small to us may be of grand importance to another. Donating clothing and blankets, volunteering in the hospitals and shelters, cleaning messes along the walk left by others . . . all these things add immense value to humanity. Everything we do accumulates and becomes a part of our life legacy. I want to look back when I reach the end of my life’s road and know I accomplished something. I want to feel pride in what I have done instead of feeling sorrow for things I could have done and did not.

imageThe value I’ve contributed to humanity will be my crowning joy on that great someday when I stand before the Lord, knowing I am deserving of being in his presence. The value I’ve added to humanity is the contribution I’ve made to the future in the lives of my children. It is my hope they will take all I have tried to teach them and carry it on, teaching others as they themselves give value to humanity.

Perhaps there is more I could do, more I should do, I know I do all I am able. I know I’ll not stop until I must. My mother told me I was going to make the world a better place. My contribution may be a small one in the grand scheme of all things, but it is a contribution nonetheless. Every one of us has immeasurable value to add to humanity, when we think of all just one person can add it is inspiring, when we think of all we can add together if we try it is miraculous. I believe we all have the power to make the world a better place.

Tomorrow I will rise and try to do something good, I will make my contribution and rest my head on my pillow when the night comes and know I tried. I want to look back upon my yesterdays and know they were not wasted. I have been blessed by the many things of value others have given to better humanity; I simply want to give back. My mother is wise and she is wonderful and I will forever be grateful for the example she set for me. My children and their children will be better for it.

I offer my heart, my knowledge, my faith, friendship and understanding. I offer my compassion, my devotion, courage, empathy and my time. I offer myself. My contribution, is teaching my children to value and respect life, to care for the earth and show kindness in all they do.

My contribution to humanity is simply contributing. There is value in trying to do something good to better humanity.

Crystal R. Cook


Ghosts of me.


In your world I wholly exist.

I fulfill needs, I play roles.

In my own, I slowly fade
as darkness falls and
sound stills to silence.

I walk through your illusion,
sometimes drifting into
the remnants of my own,
wandering in confusion,
wondering, who am I?

No one. Everyone.

Anyone. Someone.

When your eyes chance
upon me, you see my facade
and give purpose to it,
though when I am alone,
between scenes of life,
my script at times is blank.

Devoid of meaning
in hollowed places
once filled and full
with the essence of self
I remember once having.

Thoughts of me
that should be mine
have faded, leaving
ghostly apparitions
as reminders they
once were.

Quiet and dim
are dreams
that once danced.

Only their shadows remain.

Crystal R. Cook

We should all be giving trees


In 1964, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, was published. In 1974, my mother gave me the gift if it.

The Giving Tree became my saving grace and my constant companion. The pages brought me hope; they taught me, and in many ways helped mold me into the person I’ve become. I need not open the book to tell the story; it was long ago ingrained within me. When my children were born I gave to them the very same gift my mother had given me and I’ve watched it become a part of them as well.

I wonder if Shel Silverstein knew when he penned those words just how important they really were. Was he merely writing a children’s story, to be read to sleepy little ones as they drifted off to dream or did he have a greater purpose? I think he did indeed have a much greater purpose in mind.

My children, now no longer children, still cherish the book as much as I do. They read it to me every now and again and my eyes never fail to fill with tears. The tale tucked safely between the covers of the book is a timeless masterpiece of humanity all should be blessed to read.

It is a story of selfless giving and sacrifice. It tells of youthful folly and selfish need, of acceptance and unconditional love. With simple style and unexpected grace, Shel Silverstein brings his story full circle and the moral resonates within the reader, stirring emotions and provoking thought.

Simple illustrations of black against white become colorful visions through the words they portray. I can see the grass and the green of the tree with bright red apples decorating the strong branches, lush with leaves and life. The renderings show such emotion, just sketches really, but they have life when you look upon them.

The Giving Tree is so much more than a children’s book. Readers of all ages would do well to learn the lessons so wonderfully written and shared. From the pages of this simple book I learned to look at the needs of others before taking what I wanted, even though they may have been given freely. I learned to give what I could; I learned to think of the future while living in the present. I learned to value friendship, I learned love was a two-way street and pure and precious love is forever.

This has always and will always be, one of my favorite pieces of literature. The pages may be few, but they hold infinite wisdom. They tell of change. They tell of lessons learned. They tell of growth. There is a beginning and an end, an end that is itself a new beginning of sorts. A moment of self-realization everyone must eventually face. The book ends with an epiphany of sorts, one some learn too late in life.

We should all be giving trees . . . Some of us are still full and vibrant, with much to give, some of us have given so much we fear we have nothing left to give. Ironically, what we still have is often the thing needed most by another.

Crystal R. Cook