I was floored tonight to receive an email from Jim Davis, a fellow I wrote about in a Mar 2/06 piece. His son was killed in Afghanistan.
I won't divulge the details of the message, but I'll sum it up by saying he was touched by what I wrote.
Years ago, in my hometown of Estevan, Saskatchewan, I recall reading a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about the state of our mall's parking lot.
Yes, the town is so small it has one mall. And the parking lot was a horrible mess. Cracked, sunken pavement, broken curbs - it was very difficult to drive in.
The letter to the Estevan Mercury was written by a couple of American tourists who, if memory serves, suffered some damage to their motorhome by driving through the parking lot and promised never to come back to Estevan. And they promised to tell their friends.
The city erupted in sorrow. Everybody tore their robes and clothed themselves in sackcloth and dumped ashes on their heads. Well, OK, it wasn't quite like that, but a certain sense of shame did fill the town - this letter was the talk of coffee shops for months.
The mall's management, spurred to action by the embarrassment, took out a loan and got the parking lot - which is quite large - redone.
One man. One letter. One stamp.
A city in shame. Acres of new asphalt.
Mr. Davis' email reminded me of this mysterious phenomenon - that one person can have a random impact in events around him. Sometimes your impact is minor; other times it's massive. This really hammers home how important it is to live holy lives, all the time - what you do does have ripple effects, even if you don't always see the effects.
That's why I blog. I have a message, and I have a gift for writing; now I have a medium which can take my voice across the world.
And it touches real people.