If you’re not living to make a difference, you’re wasting your life.
In the exhaustive aftermath of our recent effort in planning an event to benefit The Make-A-Wish Foundation, I learned of the death of Pat Tillman. If you haven’t heard of Pat Tillman, he was a very talented, hard-nosed football player for the Arizona Cardinals who turned down a 3.8 million dollar contract to instead join the Army as a Ranger shortly after 9-11.
At the time, his decision bewildered the media and much of the public. How could he give up so much and risk it all so easily? Ironically, these were not questions posed by his friends, family, and his new bride. They knew Pat. He was killed in Afghanistan fighting for America and defending freedom.
I was listening to a sports talk show after I heard the news. A businessman wrote to the host to confess his shortcomings and share a change that had occurred in him. He described how he felt as he sat in his comfortable office in his soft chair holding his fat weekly paycheck. The sacrifice of Pat Tillman bubbled up a feeling of condemnation for his own life. He hated his job, and the only reason he did it was for the money. The money was good. Right there in his office, he decided to change. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he was damn sure going to figure it out.
Pat Tillman had inspired him to become a better person.
As I drove down the road, I myself was stunned and overwhelmed by Pat’s story. He was born in 1976 – same as me. I was proud of what we accomplished for Make-A-Wish, but even that seemed insignificant compared to the impact Tillman made.
But then I realized that we both shared a similar creed: If you’re not living to make a difference, you’re wasting your life. The point of life, when it comes right down to it, is to make a difference, not make money. The time and effort I put in may not be as great, and it surely won’t make national headlines, but my desire to make a stand and make a difference in the world is the same.
We fell short of our financial goal for the event, but we did raise over $6,000, enough to cover the special wish of one special child. In the grand scheme of things, it may not seem like much, but to that one kid, engaged in the fight of his life, it makes a world of difference.