Lasting Impressions · 18 September 2011

I have heard it said, “You leave as much lasting impression as a finger pulled from a glass of water.” Not a very encouraging thought. Especially for a teacher and writer. Still, I wonder at the truth of the statement. I wonder who will remember me when I am gone.

Now, lest you think, dear readers (both real and imaginary), that I am going to pull the plug on, you are not getting off so easily. While I do not know what keeps bringing people back (surely not the quality of writing or continuity of topics), I do know that I am not going anywhere any time soon. MediocreMan is here to stay. Even if I have not received enough rejection letters or gotten enough critics and detractors to show my success.

Hopefully, the reassurance that I am going to continue writing and posting is good news to my faithful fans.

I am not sure why I am musing about my impact on others. It is not that I am out of ideas. After all, I have at least a dozen unfinished pieces and twice that many ideas piled up in the queue. I suppose that I am just wondering if anybody would notice if I missed a post or two. I wonder if anybody would complain. And while I do not force anybody to read what I write, I wonder if some people might be relieved if I stopped posting so they could stop reading.

I suppose I am wondering about my impact because from time to time, all people wonder what kind of lasting impressions they make on the world. They wonder if what they do makes a difference. They wonder if anybody notices them. Personally, I think that anybody can make a difference. You might do something that only makes a difference to one person, but it is important to that one person. It is like the story of the boy on the beach throwing stranded sea stars back into the ocean. A man points out the vastness of the beach and stranded stars and asks what difference the boy thought he could make. The boy merely picks up the next sea star and says confidently, “It matters to this one.”

I am sure that I do not make that much of a difference to even one sea star (I doubt they read much on the internet), but I hope I have a little impact on my readers. My imaginary readers scoff at the notion and my wife wonders at the sanity of writing for those imaginary readers. But I believe if I help one person laugh or cry or think a little, then I am accomplishing something. Still, even if nobody reads what I write, I am staying true to myself and God by using my talents. By writing.

Nobody knows what sort of lasting impression he or she makes on others. We will not know until life is through. Even so, I must reject the thought that our impressions are like fingers being pulled from a glass of water. In our jobs, we might be replaceable, but in life, our impact will be felt. By somebody. I may just be a hack with a website, but I will still keep writing and posting. After all, one day I might write something funny or poignant. (Like those proverbial monkeys on typewriters writing Shakespeare.) And it just might make a difference to that one sea star who surfs the internet.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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