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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Grizzly Effects

Small, tiny even, does not necessarily mean weakness or the inability to do great things. Consider flying couriers of misery.

Much of my life has been spent detesting mosquitos. Living in western Washington State we seldom experience them on our property. A couple of nights ago was an exception. While reading on my back patio I was besieged by several small mosquitos . . . as small as I have ever seen. The species could have been culex tarsalis because they are tiny. I received three probes. (Mosquitos do not actually bite. They jab with a six-needle proboscus.) It didn’t take long before the sites itched and festered and I cursed.

There are occasional bears in our neighborhood. They do not bother me and I do not fear them. Mosquitos bother the holy-moly out of me and I shiver at the thought of them on my property. How many mosquitos would it take to equal the size and power of a bear? If there were that many in my yard I would be heading for the North Pole.

Size and power are not needed to make a significant difference. It might seem odd to use something as negative as mosquitos to make a positive point, but the comparison is valid. People sometimes (often?) think: What difference could I make? Or put another way: What I do really doesn’t make a difference. If tempted to think that way, please rethink.

Small acts can lead to future events in ways that are often unimaginable to us. There is a philosophical idea called the “butterfly effect.” It explains how seemingly random changes are really the outward manifestations of highly complex, hidden patterns. What may seem to be miraculous events are often the result of the accumulation of many, many small changes. Put simply, what may seem a tiny, insignificant action to someone might in fact lead to a much larger positive, entirely unforeseen outcome.

In addition, some small acts, while not earthshaking on a large scale, are indeed lifechanging for individuals. When I felt that ministry was my calling, I had no money for seminary. A dear friend learned of my plight and offered a monthly stipend which enabled my education. This action never made the cover of Newsweek magazine, but it led to a forty-year career for me that might not have happened otherwise.

Never let a what-I-do-doesn’t-matter attitude stop you. Jettison that mindset and replace it with the sureness that everything I do makes a difference. Because it does. Maybe even a grizzly bear of a difference.

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