Last year at a Little League championship game, 12-year-old Kaiden Shelton threw a pitch that hit Isaiah Jarvis in the head. Isaiah fell to the ground but soon got up and headed to first base. That’s when he noticed Kaiden was crying, shaken up from having hit a batter. Isaiah left first base, headed to Kaiden, and gave him a hug. Soon “The Hug” was all over the internet and national media.
John Minck is a 92-year-old Korean War veteran who saw the story. For nine years he’s been sending Atta Boy/Girl certificates to normal people who do good things. He sent a certificate to Isaiah and said, “Understand that this award comes from one old man, sitting in an upstairs den, looking out on a sunny day.”*
I don’t love many news stories lately—maybe you feel the same way—but then there’s this one. Well, technically there are two stories. One of a boy who could have charged the mound out of anger from getting hit but instead walked to the mound to hug the pitcher. Another of a widower who decided to use his time to reach out to “everyday heroes” and give them his homemade awards.
In his 1989 inaugural address, President George H. W. Bush shared that he wanted people and organizations to serve others, to be “a thousand points of light.” Don’t ask me why his phrase came to mind, but it did—and Isaiah and John are two points of light.
That got me thinking about other people who are points of light. The store owner who, to create community, invites people to sit on the store’s front porch every Thursday. The man who leaves encouraging notes for his coworkers. The realtor who invites older women to a tea once a month in her office. The woman who works at her local food pantry. The church members who make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless.
If you believe in Jesus, you are a point of light too. And Jesus tells you to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
So what can you do to brighten the world with your good deeds? What are your specific gifts, talents, and interests, and how will you use those to bless the people around you? Maybe you hug someone who is hurting. You drive your neighbor to cancer treatments. You share an Atta Boy/Girl with someone who needs encouragement. Perhaps you create community in a society that seems to be drifting apart. You bake cookies for your neighbors and share the hope that you have.
Whatever you do, God has created you to be a bright spot, to make a difference in the world. And you have the strength and focus to do it because Jesus—the Light of the world—came into the world to make a difference in your life.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is a little stunned that President George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address was almost 35 years ago. Has it really been that long since she graduated from high school?!