What Would the World Be Like Without You?

 

As I’ve said probably too many times – I love the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Because I love the premise – What would the world be like without you? To me, that is a fascinating concept.

I mean, think about it – how many lives do you touch during the course of your life? How many times have you intervened without giving it a second thought – and possibly saved someone’s life? Stopped someone from doing another harm. Made someone laugh and change their mind about taking some dark course. Encouraged someone so much that they went on to succeed at something they might not have ever tried?

Like the lady I saw looking at peanut butter at the grocery store. I didn’t know her, I’d never seen her before in my life. Yet, I was compelled to say ‘make sure that isn’t one of those brands they found with semonila  (sp) in it.’ Now why did I say that? Was there some perception on my part that the food would hurt  her? Did I instinctively know she shouldn’t eat the dang peanut butter? As it turned out, she didn’t buy it and thanked me for saying that.

Or the kid I chased down the street to give a sandwich to because I knew he was living on the street and was hungry. Maybe he didn’t try to steal money from an old lady later that day because he didn’t need to. I don’t know and I’m not trying to make myself out as some sort of hero – not at all. I’m just an average person who tries to live as a decent human being, despite my rants and the things that aggravate me. I try to help people. To encourage people. It’s so much easier to give love than to withhold it. To help than to harm.

I don’t know what the world would be like if I weren’t in it. I don’t know if anyone would notice that something was missing. Maybe so. Maybe not. But I wish I could be like George Bailey and get a 24 hour period where I could see my life without me in it. I suspect it would make me much more grateful than I am, for all the many things in my life that I take for granted. And perhaps there’d be a few surprises that would make me feel differently about me.

I guess my point is that we all (too often) feel small and powerless in the world. And maybe even feel as though our efforts don’t matter in the greater scheme of things. But I think they do. I think that the aggregate of our small acts of kindness, love, help and awareness are part of the greater scheme of things. And without them, the world is a smaller place. We are all special and important in some way, to those we know, those we encounter and even those we don’t know.

So, what about it? What do you think the world would be like without you? I really want to know.

WC

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40 thoughts on “What Would the World Be Like Without You?

  1. Oh this is an easy one for me. Two things stand out.
    Firstly: ZOE. without me, and indeed amum, she wouldn’t be here and I have no doubts this world wouldn’t be the same without her, not only for the things she’s done already, but for what she WILL do.
    (mum says she will ponder on this a little further and get back to you)
    Secondly: There would be around 500 people out there who haven’t experienced the delights of my favorite coffee bean from GJ’s. And who knows just how much impact that has had? Who knows what stress has been alleviated, or idea formed, all because I took 10 mins of my time to introduce someone to 5 mins of pure pleasure as they sip that oh so nutty and mild coffee……oh I can taste it!

    Of course any parent can answer this in a fairly similar fashion to what I have with my first one, and they would be so right…each and everyone of us affects this world and helps shape it leaving it forever changed.
    I see this as being like a beach. Each tiny grain of sand, each drop in the ocean, all doing their own little small thing and coming together to help shape that beach that is forever evolving and changing, never to be the same again. That beach can be beautiful, or it can kill you. Kinda like humanity if you think about it.
    Great post WC.
    Kelly

    Kel, I’m sure as a parent this type of question does give a person pause. We take the joy of our loved ones so easily and naturally we never think what life would be like without them. I think we are all connected and we each do impact each other’s lives in ways profound and superficial. And stepping back and taking a look at that isn’t such a bad thing.
    WC

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  2. That’s a hard question to consider– for me, anyway. LoL But your post was beautiful and made the inner workings of Mckenzie start to think. (Hold on to your hats, people, this could get scary!) Thanks, WC, you truly are awesome.

    Well sweet one, I can’t wait to hear what your thoughts are, whenever you are ready to express them. You are a deep thinker by nature – that is obvious – and though it can sometimes be painful, it seems to be that it the better way to go.
    WC

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  3. Hmmm….How many ways is there to get to Chicago? You could take a bus, walk, take a plane, motorcycle, a long bike ride, maybe a piggy back ride? I guess i feel the same about this question. I would like to think that my being in the world made a difference in a positive way to someone. I did talk two of my girlfriends out of committing suicide (in my teens) by making them laugh and keeping them on the phone (they called me) until i was positive the crisis was over. But who’s to say, they wouldn’t have reached someone else, or have just simply changed their minds? I believe that everything in this world is intertwined, and so you do affect others and they affect you, but if you personally weren’t in it, maybe someone else would have just taken your place? Hmmmm?? Good Post WC.

    l/y
    FC

    Good point. But I don’t think there is someone else who steps in and takes your place. I don’t know why I think that, perhaps I believe in fate or destiny more than I realized. But I do think if you weren’t here or I weren’t here – there would be something missing and it would be felt in some way – perhaps only slightly and way below the surface but felt.

    l/y
    WC

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  4. oh my! well first i wouldn’t have my gorgeous kids who are so funny and smart and talented. three of my bff’s would have had to have chosen different mates because i introduced them to their husbands and one of them has 5 kids and the other has 2 so there are 7 more people that may not exist. i don’t toot my own horn either but i, like you, try to do the right things and make the small differences where i can. My best friend in high school committed suicide at 17 and i often wonder how she would be now, how many kids she would have, if she would be married. i don’t ever want anyone to think that way about me. i don’t believe anyone can “take your place” in life, like if you weren’t there someone else would just do and be the same. all i know is i’m so glad to be alive and have my gorgeous kids and be part of this wonderful little spinning planet we are all on!

    Great answer, Reggie. I love that you are so clear on it and can see the cause and effect of the question. And really who could imagine life without you bee-bopping around? 😉
    WC

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  5. Personally? No idea. I can’t get my brain to work that way.

    But WC–Now you’re talking! Great post! It’s stuff like this that makes me want to come back for more.

    Thanks for that. This was a good one.

    Chris

    Oh Chris, I think you could get your brain to work any ol’ way you wanted it to. Thanks for the kudos, glad you enjoyed the post. I’d like to write more of these but you know…ah…people expect the jokey stuff or so I’ve been told. 😉
    WC

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  6. Ok there my dear, you and that Sarah friend of yours freak me out at times cause I am sure you two are stalking my thoughts! Again! 😉
    You should see what I typed up this morning. Not necessarily blog material but definately within the same grander subject like your lines.

    I am in total awe of the ripple effect that humans can create all by themselves.
    Personally I think the world would be rolling on just fine without me here. BUT since someone went through the trouble and energy of putting my persona on this planet, which I am very grateful for, well, I do believe that there is an intention for me to be here and to make a difference. And in return I get awarded with lots of people making a difference in mine.
    Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts WC and thanks for being in my world.

    Yep, that’s us – thought stalkers! LOL – that’s funny.

    Oh I think the world would be a little less interesting without you in it, Spaz. And I am happy to be a part of yours too.

    It is funny though, how like minds come up with like thoughts. Maybe we’re traveling on a similar orbit – maybe there is a writer’s orbit that we all ride and meteors that burst into ideas and interchanges of thought. I kind of like to think there is.

    WC

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  7. Wow. That’s a big one. I actually thought about this earlier today. The weekend wasn’t that great, with some IRS stress added on to the pile of all the things that must be taken care of one of these days. And I remember what a relief I felt on Sunday when my health insurance kicked in at work and 5 weeks of uninsuredness passed without a problem. And when I think about all the bills and projects and work that need to be done and it’s so overwhelming.

    But then I think about my kids. And how happy they are. How much they enjoy just living. How they love so freely and purely. They are grateful (mostly) for the things they have. I can give them a little something and they say “COOL!” and go off smiling. If I weren’t here, they wouldn’t be here. And I know they bring joy to people.

    If I weren’t here, my sisters and brother wouldn’t have had me to stand up to our dad. Sure I took some crap, but they didn’t have to. If I weren’t here, my mom would have to pick up things that are too heavy for her to pick up. If I weren’t here, my grandmother wouldn’t have anyone to help her move her plants on her patio.

    So I’m glad I’m here in the world. And I think that lady and that boy are glad you’re here too. I know I am. 🙂

    Isn’t it great to realize you done good? Your kids are awesome and I’ve no doubt that they bring plenty of joy to those around them. And really when you think of it, what has more value than that? See, look at us just spreading the love. Fun, ain’t it?
    WC

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  8. Reading other people’s comments, I also thank you for reminding your friends that they do matter and how what may seem like a little thing has a great impact on others.

    Aw, thank you sweetie – and I do believe that. People matter, even when it doesn’t really seem that way, we all really do.
    WC

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  9. Hi WC,

    The only thing I can think of that will make any difference over the coming years, is my son. I have great hopes for him being something special 🙂

    the Grit

    I’m sure your son is special, Grit – considering who his papa is, I’ve no doubt. But don’t be so modest – you are one of those truth seekers who people can relate to. That’s important, keep doing it – because it matters.
    WC

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  10. First of all, i love that picture at the top. If you can give anymore info about it, please do. (It’s probably real famous – but I’ve never seen it.)

    Secondly, that’s a really sweet post. And I guess this is why I like blogging so well. I get to give my two-cents in my own sweet time, with no interruptions, and some people just have a knack for writing things that i like to read.

    Thirdly, we can only guess at what the world would be like without us.
    I’ve run out of time. I’ll be back. i want to read all the other comments and think about them.

    Hey Lolly,
    I loved the picture too but I’m afraid there isn’t much I can tell you about it. I found it on googl* and I’d never seen it before that moment – so if it’s famous, I’m clueless too. 😉 I think the search term I used was cycle of life or something like that.

    Guessing can be fun sometimes and I like to contemplate things sometimes too. Please do come back and read the other comments, I think they are all great and thoughtful responses.
    WC

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  11. Get a BIG cup of coffee and settle down to read your LONG email!

    Got it. Tres’ interesting. We’ll have to discuss via IM very soon. Glad you’re back hon.
    WC

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  12. Wow. Whatta post, and I have yet to see that movie.

    I’d like to think that we’re all here for different reasons, and that things happen for a reason. Much like your peanut butter incident – you didn’t know that person from Adam, but you helped them nonetheless because YOU knew how harmful it could be. That person could have ended up in the hospital just because she wanted a PB&J. You stopped that.

    What would life be like without me? It’d be a sad, sad world. I don’t know really. I do know that my Mister would be a lonely soul because he always tells me I’m the only woman ever meant for him :]

    Wonderful post MsChick.

    Oh Red, do rent that movie and see it. I think you’d really love it.

    Yeah, I’m sure Mister would be lonely and of course your little one would be too.
    WC

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  13. Nice post. I had no clue you were a harbinger of peanut butter doom, or willing to chase a child just to give him lunch. Again, kudos!

    So, what would the world be without me? For starters, diabetes would be a lot more common. Blogging would be a lot less cool. The planet would be bombed so many times that France, America, and parts of Iran would be replaced on the map with smoldering country-sized craters. We’d be living in post-apocalyptic mayhem, and “coke zero” would never have been invented.

    I know DT, just when you think you got me pegged I go and surprise you. 😉

    Wow, I had no idea you were keeping the planet together. Phew! Thank God you are still here. 😆
    WC

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  14. i just gotta laugh at DT.. GAWD he is so freaking silly funny sometimes!!

    I know, nothing wrong with that boy’s ego. 😆
    WC

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  15. I have never seen It’s A Wonderful Life before. Maybe I should. I like this post. It makes us believe that we all have some sort of purpose rather than just wondering through life for so long alone.

    Hey Catchy! I hope you do see it sometime. It is an old movie and there is some corny stuff there but the heart of the story is really fantastic – gives you the warm fuzzies all over.

    I believe we all do have a purpose for being here, even if we never learn what it is.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading – come back any time.

    WC

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  16. This question is bigger than all of us and incredibly difficult to answer.
    For the people my life has knowingly touched I’m thinking that their world would be immensely different.
    This is a question that may take some time to offer anything remotely intelligent. (for me, anyway)
    ~m

    Well I have plenty of time and the question will be here any time you want to answer it. Or not. The point I guess I was making is that we aren’t as small and remote as we may think – we, each of us, matter to the fabric of the world. Even if we are just a snag in it. 😉
    WC

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  17. I read this over the weekend and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I’m still thinking about it to be honest with you. If it’s okay with you, would like to repost my answer (since it will inevitably be long and drawn out) on my blog. Let me know. PS. I have eaten half a container of potato chips in the last thirty minutes I’ve spent here reading your blog. Potato chips are good.

    I’d be honored if you posted your response on your blog. Let me know when it’s up.

    Tater chips is good, ‘specially when you’re reading. Hope they were the baked, no cholesteral type. Hehe.
    WC

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  18. I’m so glad Kim led me to this post. I’ve been so busy lately, casual reading has been sparse. This has made my morning. I’m certain I will be linking others to this.

    Hey Jeff,
    Nice to see you here. I’m glad you liked the post. I must admit, it’s one of my favorites too. And thanks for the ping.
    WC

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  19. i like this post, Chica.
    i wonder how i missed it.
    It’s hard for to think of myself in this manner,
    but there are others i couldn’t imagine life without.

    Hey Chica Chica,
    I know it may be difficult to think of yourself that way – but I think if you can, it gives you great perspective. We all add our special bits to the world – if we’re not here, then neither are those pieces that we contribute. Personally, I think those pieces are important and I’m sure glad you’re here. 🙂

    A

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  20. I think every little act you perform, like warning the peanut butter lady about the salmonella, helps other people think about things too. Even if that woman didn’t rethink her actions on buying the peanut butter, someone else may have overheard you and then thought to also pass on the information. So, yeah, in the big scheme of things we may seem insignificant, but I do think those small acts have more of an impact than we know. It’s like that story about the starfish, I included this link to it because the writer included the credit to the original writer, unlike some other sites I found.
    http://www.changeeverything.ca/blog/catherine_ludgate/it-makes-difference-one-starfish

    Aw, what a beautiful story, Teens, thanks for leaving the link.
    Hugs,
    Annie

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  21. I would like to think i have left a positive impact on the people I have been around. I’m an eagle scout. I have helped people for years, yet it all seems like small, insignificant stuff that would have been fulfilled by others in my absence. I try to help my friends when they have a problem, but there are so many times I feel like i just screwed up something even more.
    Quite honestly, I think the world would get along fine without me. I don’t think anyone would be affected any better or worse.

    I’m sorry you feel that way because I believe even though, were we not there, there might be someone else who could have filled that spot – we are unique and our own special perspective sometimes can be a deciding factor. I’m sure that your friends and family would consider you irreplaceable.
    WC

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  22. What would the world be like without me… That’s the ultimate question for so many people going through depression. I would know; I constantly ask myself this question. And every time I do, I’m reminded that I have so much to live for. Starting with what I don’t have to live for yet. Who knows what would come to be in my life and make a difference in it if I didn’t exist.

    And I also remember what I’ve already lived for. My mother, who had went through a very serious depression when my father left her. She tells me almost every day that she is thankful for me being there. Had I not crossed her thoughts, she says she would no longer be here. And that right there is enough to keep me going. A world without my mother seems like a terrible place. And to know that I’ve made one of the most important impacts in her life, is enough for me to smile and remember that life may feel worthless right now, but I can and wil go on, because I want to make an impact in other people’s lives, and for them to do the same. Good or bad, I want to feel what living feels like.

    Remember that no matter what, you’ve made an impact on someone. You may feel worthless, but remember that despite whatever you feel right now, you mean something to someone.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Lex. I’m sure your mother is very grateful that you were there when she needed you most. I agree, that people really don’t think about the impact or may even be aware of the impact they have on others. I believe there’s a reason we’re all in the world.

      Writer Chick

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  23. I love this post and feel the same way. I always smile at people, even I Wal-Mart. Sometimes, most often actually, I get odd stares or ignored, but Sometimes they smile back. You never know if something small like a smile could be exactly what someone needs, and it’s 100% free. Like you said not like we’re trying to be a hero, but kindness and doing our part, no matter how small, does make a difference. Why be mean when we can be kind instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I get weird looks too. But it is amazing the power a smile has. Or just a few words can brighten a person’s day. It really is the small things that make an impact I think. And absolutely, why be mean when it’s so easy to kind. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. My kids would not be here. My ex would have never found me. My new wife would not know unconditional love. I’ve built schools that may not have finished on time if I wasn’t there. Don’t know how many kids I’ve helped in baseball that went further if I wasn’t there. I’ve also hurt some that may not have been hurt if not for me. To all of those I certainly apologize. Sometimes I wonder if I really matter. I’ve been through so many struggles, I wonder if this earth is not the hell, cause there has to be something better than this.

    Like

    1. Hi David,
      I was touched by your comments. I think we all feel sometimes, that maybe we don’t matter, or make a difference in the world. Personally, I think we do. But I also think that we can’t possibly know how many lives we touch, even with the simplest gestures or acts of kindness. Life is hard, it’s true, sometimes terribly hard. But a wonderful gift too.

      Annie

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  25. I am 48 going on 49. No job, No ability to provide for my fiancee, nothing to give to my nephews, no kids. Married once waited until 40 lasted only 3.5 years. Used my retirement just to keep a roof over my head which is now gone. Lost a lot of trust in the church on how they ran my annulment. The priest held it for 3 months which made it take that much longer. Had a few interviews. They call me as they hired one of the other candidates. Then to see a new add for the same job. At this time I am depressed but try to hide it.

    So yes I wonder what life would be without me. My nephews would have to worry about me. My fiancee might find the man who could really take care of her. My parents wouldn’t have to worry.

    I guess I am venting because I am scared and really can’t show it.

    Like

    1. Hi Harvey,
      I am so sorry to see you are going through so much and are in such pain. Life can be terribly difficult and disappointing, I agree completely with that.

      What you describe sounds very tough and I could see how that could make you feel as though you are not important or don’t matter. So many people believe that about themselves but it isn’t true. You do matter. To your nephews. To your fiance. To your parents. To all your friends. And probably to people who you aren’t even aware of too.

      I truly believe we are brought into this life for a reason, and even if that reason isn’t clear to us and we are unable to see it, that doesn’t lessen the importance of the reason or the value of us.

      I know things are really difficult for you right now, but please find a way to be kind to yourself. Find a way to enjoy all that you have. It may not be material wealth, but you do obviously have people in your life who care about you, and you have the sky and the earth and the birds’ song in the morning.

      Things will get better. You will weather the storm. Appreciate yourself. Value yourself.

      Be well,
      Annie

      Like

  26. I love this idea Annie as a writing prompt. It certainly makes you think, doesn’t it. I’ll carry even further back though my dad once told me he was kept out having to go to war because he had his appendix removed, and the stitches broke open days before he was to enlist. Who knows what might have happened if he had to gone to war? Maybe I and my siblings would never have born? It causes you to wonder that is for sure. The what ifs are puzzling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true, you never know what might have happened if just a few things had gone another way. I think it’s one of those things that keeps us connected as humans – that innate knowledge that we do affect other people’s lives. That the universe is paying attention.

      A

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      1. That is true, one little change could change everything, effect so people’s lives. It certainly gives us something to think about especially in those when we may think we are not important.

        Liked by 1 person

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