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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We Cannot Escape The Influence Our Lives Have On The Lives Of Others.

Ever think about how much you influence other people? I know I didn't either....until something happened the other day and I had to consider the influence we really have on each other.

It is the butterfly thing, you've heard of it right?

Sorry Einstein, "The Butterfly Effect"

Here is the explanation....The Butterfly effect is a term used in chaos theory to describe how initial conditions can affect large, complex systems. The term comes from the suggestion that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in South America could affect the weather in Texas, meaning that the tiniest influence on one part of a system can have a huge effect on another part.

Wow, I feel like the scarecrow (thank you Chelle) right after he got a brain...spouting all kinds of smart, intellectual stuff -

The reality is our lives truly reflect the butterfly effect...the tiniest influence in our lives can have a huge effect on other parts of our lives....

For instance...My uncle called the night before my mother's funeral. He couldn't attend and I was giving the eulogy...he wanted to give me support knowing I was going to be scared and useless. This is how it came out...."Donna! You can do remember you are made of better stuff." That's it, one conversation, not only did I get through the eulogoy, but I have heard that voice for the past 12 years. When I get in a position where I need extra confidence, I just remember that fine Texas voice..."Donna! You are made of better stuff." And I remember I am.

My speech teacher in high school....a woman I already thought was made of gold, telling me simply...."You are are really good." That one statement moved me through college. When I fell short, when criticism was intense.....and when I couldn't hear my better angels, her words would come to me..."You are good.."

The parent of one of my seminary students called one night to talk about her daughter. There had been some serious problems and I was one of many trying to help. She said this amazing thing to me...."you probably don't think about us very often, but we think about you every day." I was without words. She didn't mean it to be flattering....what she was saying and what I understood so plainly was....we need help and you are helping us and we are so grateful.

Recently a dear friend saved us in a way no one was else was able to. The butterfly effect...I whispered in his ear....."There will never be a night that passes that we don't pray for you and for your family, we are grateful forever." What he did for us was a sacrifice for him...but he followed an impression and it helped us so much.

Jan Graham sending the Mormon Missionaries to my phone call changed my life forever. I learned how to share what means the most to me.
Pat Scott bringing a cooked ham to my home after a miscarriage...I learned how to bring in meals.
Betsey Holley coming to my house with a car full of food after a particularly difficult episode in my life....we cooked and laughed all afternoon! I learned how to serve my friends.
My grandmother teaching me how to set a table...and to never save your good things for a day that might not come. I learned how to share the best of what I have with others.
My daughter telling me her teacher only liked the "cool kids". I learned how important it is to treat people with love and matter how young they are.
My mother-in-law telling me how happy she was I married her son. I learned to accept people even if their culture and religion was different.
Beth Miller insisting I move back to Las Vegas from month later I met my husband and began building the family I love so much. I learned to listen to wise people!
Molly Hyer who loved me when I was mess...never gave up on me and now cries each time she sees me....I learned to love people even when they don't really seem to want it, and are a little hard to love.
There have been endless times I have been the recipient of a small act that influenced my life in a big way.
The Butterfly effect works the other way too....negative flapping of butterfly wings...and I have let those demons shout my better angels down....but it's not much fun. So I continue to work hard to hear my angels....and to look hard to see what the smallest fluttering of butterfly wings will bring to my life.

Remember, remember, remember......we influence people every day.....mostly when we aren't looking.

We cannot escape the influence our lives have on the lives of others...President Thomas S. Monson.

My love to all the butterflys!!

Hey log on to my son Mikey's blog, it is a lot of fun!!


  1. Oh my - I'm first again... I agree completely with you Donna. I've had people perform the smallest acts of kindness (according to their view) on my behalf that have felt huge to me. Absolutely huge. And I hope that small things I do for others will similarly affect them. One teacher I know has a "snap box" in her classroom. Whenever one child witnesses a small act of kindness (Bobby stacked my chair for me) they write it on a piece of paper and put it in the snap box. On Friday they hold their Classroom Convention and read the contents of the snap box. After each kind deed is read, the class snaps their fingers three times in honor of the do-gooder. She says that usually the child who has done the good deed doesn't even remember doing it. But the one he did it for does. And thats the beauty of being kind to each other.
    In today's environment of meanness and verbal abuse we could use a whole lot more of the snap box.

  2. I think it's so wonderful that you are able to remember so many services done on your behalf.

  3. Thanks for flapping your wings in my direction.

  4. I like that snap box idea!
    I also like this post, and it rings true.

    It seems to me that it isn't so much what you do at a given time that makes a person remember it as a life-changing event, it's how much the person needed it in that moment. Which is a big argument in favor of staying in tune and listening for promptings!

    Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, Donna.



  5. oh boy, you're gonna think i'm a stalker. and i keep telling myself 'just read quietly and don't comment cuz then you're gonna look kind crazy.' but then i read a post like this! and i can SO relate to what you've written about the "butterfly thing"! great post! :)

    i promise, i'm not crazy. i'm just honest when i see something that moves me.

  6. Good honk, Donna, are you trying to make me cry? It appears that maybe we should flap our butterfly wings more often. Keep flapping!