"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

the value of the one

I've been rolling this phrase around a lot the last couple of years - "the one".

The one matters. The weird one ... the marginalized one ... the one that doesn't fit.

The majority shouldn't always rule. For sure, sometimes - yes. It's democratic. It's as fair as you can get when there's a whole crowd; otherwise, an elite few get preferential treatment, and that's rarely right.

But if the majority ALWAYS rules, then the one never does. Never belongs. Never fits. Never matters. Never has their needs or desires met. 

That can't be right either. Sometimes the majority should maybe bend their preferences for the good of the one. 

Plus ... there's power in one.

There are so many causes, so many needs, so many "awareness" campaigns.  We live in an age of TMI (too much information) and it's getting harder to know what's true and what isn't. So it's easy to give up and think that one doesn't matter anyway. 

But it does. 

Last Sunday, we heard the story at church of one conversation between one newbie, naive staff pastor (not me - my dad) and one seasoned, slightly cynical ASL-English interpreter. Twenty-five (or more) years later, "Deaf Crossfire" is alive and well, with soooo many life-impacting stories of Deaf people (who, by the way, are never the majority).

My friend Ed Dickson, who is about the humblest and FUNNIEST person I know, quit his very excellent job and went to Ukraine with nothing over 20 years ago to see what he could do.

He learned how to say, "I'm hungry" (just in case) and wasn't sure if he would be living under a bridge. (He didn't, in the end, live under a bridge. And it turned out he needed to learn "I'm FULL" pretty quickly! Ukrainians are VERY hospitable people!). 

He went because he had seen disabled orphans there and was struck by the fact that it was just the occasion and location of their birth that made their lives so different than his. So he went. He figured those "ones" mattered, when hardly anyone else did. 

Now ... I can't tell you how many orphanages, hospitals and schools I have personally walked into where the director points out playgrounds, shelters, repairs, resources that "Ed Dickson gave us". Of course, he corrects them and says it was Canadians (or others) and he just got to be the delivery guy. Nonetheless - it started with one. Now he's been appointed by the Presidential Administration to lead a strategy to improve the lives of children with special needs in Ukraine. 

And then my friend wrote this the other day. Another "power of one" story. 

Your turn - got a story of "one"?

1 comment:

Roopchand Nandan said...

Yes indeed, I was pleased to read your take on Ukraine and it's people. I know many Ukrainian people and love them very much, so hospitable, and lovable. That's why I've trying my chances on Ukrainian dating sites, lol, Montréal has a large Ukraine population too and I know where to get real Russian and Ukrainian imported foods.
Roopchand