The centerpiece of all Your teachings is love – the love we nurture for You and others. It should be of great concern to us not only that we manifest this love but how we manifest it. This may have the effect of bringing to the surface a concern lest others fail to be influenced by me. After all, how do I measure my effectiveness as Your follower if I cannot measure my effectiveness on others?
The feeling is real that if my life has not made a difference in the lives of others it is a failure. Is it possible to not experience the effects of our own lives and still be Your disciples? It seems a valid consideration to look at one’s life and see what it has meant to others; what difference it has made to others. Is it pure vanity to seek out solid answers to the questions of whether my life has meant anything to others or made a difference in their lives?
If I look to those whom I think have made a difference in my life I, in some cases, do not come up with radically spiritual individuals. It would seem that the negative effects of some people occasionally carry more power and meaning than exemplary models – and here I don’t mean for the bad but for the good.
The fact is, there’s not much to be gained by categorizing ourselves one way or another because we just never know how influential or how lacking in influence our lives really are and, maybe, in reality, we should not be so concerned with it. The flaw (which seems inevitable) in the concern lest others fail to be influenced by me is, indeed, that there is an abundance of self and vanity in it – so much that such a concern defeats the detachment requisite for effective influence.
If I am so taken up with the idea that my life is in every way the benchmark for another, or that what I do, say, or write is the measure of my influence and effectiveness, then I am totally missing the message of the cross. In the act of totally giving, of totally loving, there is no concern lest others miss it.