Our Greatest Impact May Be One-On-One


“‘Pain, passion, purpose’: In his death, Cummings’ legacy as a mentor echoes loudest” Of the many headlines I have seen on the recent death of Representative Elijah Cummings, this one in the Baltimore Sun grabbed me. I have a deep belief in the power of mentoring. A person who mentored me once said, “The most important work of the world happens one on one,” and these words still ring true for me today.

The article went on to say, “As tributes poured in for Cummings, who died Thursday morning, many of them made mention of what could be Cummings’ most lasting legacy: not of congressman or House Oversight chairman or inquisitor to President Donald Trump, but of mentor and guide.” People related powerful stories about how a few minutes of this man’s time had impacted their lives in major ways.

When Congressman Elijah Cummings wrote a personal letter to the White House in 2013 recommending Keenen Geter for an internship there, the article says. he noted Geter’s ‘passion for public service.’ He encouraged Geter to rise above the adversity of his life, and use painful experiences as a catalyst. “He would tell me, ‘Keenen, through your pain, you will find your passion, and through your passion, you will find your purpose.’ ” Geter said.

When I think back over my own life, I can find examples of people who have changed my own trajectory. None of them were public figures, like Rep. Cummings, but their words and actions have inspired me to believe in myself, have given me hope and strength, have changed the trajectory of my life.

When I think about my own future, and the legacy I would like to leave in the world, I would like it to be said of me that I have touched someone’s life, offered by my presence and attention a tangible proof that they are of worth, ignited within their soul a vision of their own possibility. “I can’t do a lot to change the world, but at least I can do this,” I have told myself.

This article is causing me to re-evaluate the importance of the power of relationship. Of all the great, sometimes world-shaking accomplishments of Elijah Cummings, it was his role as mentor and friend and trusted adviser that meant most to people, and inspired them to reach for greater things in their own lives. “Cummings often spoke of leaving the world better for generations to come and his interest in offering a guiding hand to younger people reflected that,” the article concludes.May I remember that nothing I do is more important than this: reflecting back to others the greatness that lies in their souls.

In Gratitude,
Rev. Lynda