In Others’ Words: No Waiting Necessary

Don't Wait Anne Frank Quote 1.10.14 I read The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school.  I thought Anne was so brave, even as I wrestled with comprehending that she was only one of the children killed during the Jewish Holocaust. What kind of madness destroys the lives of over one million innocent children?

Anne Frank penned those words about not waiting to improve the world as she and her family hid in a small apartment with four other people. A young teen girl, she chose to hope in the midst of a world war. She wanted to be someone who did good in the world, given the chance.

The Bible says that God numbers our days (Psalm 139:16) … and Anne’s were so, so few. And yet,  her desire to not be shaped by the evil around her echoes through the decades.

In Your Words: When have you acted, instead of waiting, to change your circumstances — or someone else’s — for the better? How has someone else’s choice echoed into your life, affecting who you are (positively) years later? 

 No One Need Wait a Single Moment to Improve the World Click to Tweet

How our Actions Create Echoes  Click to Tweet

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15 Comments

  1. Susan Tuttle
    January 10, 2014, 7:26 am   /  Reply

    This has long been one of my favorite quotes. She is such an inspiration and with such a short life. As for me, my parents are the ones who modeled this in my life. I’m a walking testimony that you can live differently than what you see, that what’s been modeled around you doesn’t have to be the choice you make, that you can love and forgive instead of hate and harbor bitterness, and that you can pass that on to others.

    • January 10, 2014, 1:10 pm   /  Reply

      Susan,
      I love this quote too, and have thought of using it in a blog post many a time. Today seemed like the right day. Not sure why. It just did.

  2. January 10, 2014, 7:37 am   /  Reply

    Oh man, I think I could name about a hundred times someone else’s choice to not wait and make a difference in my life affected me positively. Truly. Here’s one time that really stands out. Not long after college I went through a hard season including a breakup with the person I thought I was going to marry. (Anytime I bring that up, I feel compelled to say it was probably one of the best decisions ever–but it was still hard. 🙂 )Anyway, instead of waiting even for a weekend, my parents drove three hours round-trip the day after the breakup just to spend time with me. And I remember thinking, it feels like life is upside down right now, but some things will ALWAYS be right side up–like my parents’ love for me.

    • January 10, 2014, 1:09 pm   /  Reply

      One day I hope to meet your parents, Melissa, and tell them, “It’s wonderful to finally meet such a-ma-zing people!”
      And, yeah — hug ’em. So warn them about me, will you?
      😉

  3. January 10, 2014, 8:02 am   /  Reply

    What a great post! Thank you!

    When we see a lost and frightened dog – we act. We’ve been told by well-meaning people that it’s really not our problem, and why do we have to jump in?

    No, it’s not our problem. It’s the dog’s problem, and if we can assuage the grief and terror of an animal that can think and feel, in many ways just as we do – we will.

    • January 10, 2014, 1:07 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew,
      I admit I did think of you as I wrote this post — and how you and your wife care for those wonderful dogs of yours who need to know someone loves them.

  4. January 10, 2014, 8:23 am   /  Reply

    Beautiful post. I love that quote. Andrew’s comment made me think of the first cat in my life. Mazy who I found on a 110 degree parking lot when he was 4 weeks old. I took him home to die…but he didn’t and for the first time in my life, I became a cat owner. Or rather, he owned me.

    • January 10, 2014, 1:06 pm   /  Reply

      Mazy-the-cat-I-am-not-keeping … I remember that story, Pat.
      And how you named the cat Mazy because you thought it was a girl-kitty but, um, were wrong.

      😉

  5. January 10, 2014, 8:30 am   /  Reply

    Beautiful post, Beth. There have definitely been “life changing moments” in my life, but one comes to mind right now. I think when my world was affected was when a gal offered me the gift of unconditional friendship. She welcomed me into a circle of friends. A group of us are doing life together—the beautiful and the ugly aspects of life. Praying, celebrating, walking alongside each other. I’m learning so much, and it began with a few kindly spoken words.

    • January 10, 2014, 1:05 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, the safe haven of unconditional friendship. It’s life-giving, isn’t it, Jeanne?

  6. January 10, 2014, 9:42 am   /  Reply

    That book, and Anne’s story–among so many others–always makes me cry.

    The biggest time my actions–the actions of my entire family, starting with my dad–changed someone’s circumstances for the good was at the beginning of last summer. A college student, whom we didn’t know, was stranded on the side of the highway just beyond my dad’s exit to come home. It was excruciatingly hot–summer in north Texas for you–so my dad came home, grabbed two bottles of water from the refrigerator and took them back to her, thinking that if she was still there by the time he got back with the water, he’d help her figure out what to do. Well, she was still there. She had her mom on the phone, but she had to feel so helpless being six hours away. My dad helped her get her car to a nearby gas station and called our mechanic to see if he could take a look at her car. He had time to do so, so they called a tow truck and waited over two hours for them to show up. By that time, my mom, sister and I were finished tutoring and could go run our errands. We thought we’d stop by to see how things were progressing. We got there just in time to see the tow truck pull away. We followed them to the mechanic’s and waited for them to check out her car. The transmission needed to be changed NOW. So the girl was stuck six hours away from her folks, after returning from a foreign country with her college’s summer mission project. My family offered to let her stay at our house until the car was fixed or get her to a hotel or drive her home (it was the start of the weekend and we had the time off from tutoring). She and her parents were floored that we’d take her all the way home–six hours away! Her mom really wanted her to be home, and the girl really wanted to be home. So we took her to our house, each packed a small bag of necessities for overnight, and drove her six hours to her mom’s house, getting there around midnight. They were even more shocked when we refused the money her mom offered, but we didn’t do it for the money. We did it because God lives in us, and what if it would have been my sister or me? We would want a kind stranger to do the same. (My dad had talked to her mom over the phone and told her he was an ordained minister and that we only wanted to help; we weren’t crazy people. Well, maybe we were, but not in a creepy way.) Now we’ve got new friends for life, and all because my dad took her some water on a hot day. God works wonders!

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    • January 10, 2014, 1:04 pm   /  Reply

      Wow and wow and wow.
      Andrea, this story brought tears to my eyes.
      Such a beautiful expression of being Jesus with skin on to someone.
      Amazing.

      • January 10, 2014, 2:57 pm   /  Reply

        The peace that flooded through me at the time was just as amazing as what you felt reading the story today. It was one of those times when I knew without any doubt that we were doing the right thing, that God was in it, and that everyone involved would be blessed.

        Hearing your reaction to it, it’s clear to me the blessings keep on coming. Not only for me, either. 🙂

  7. January 10, 2014, 9:55 pm   /  Reply

    Betty, an older woman who mentored me through raising our kids. She helped me and them and John and, well, a lot of people benefited because I was a saner wife and mom because of her. She never took credit, but I often say she saved our marriage and our kids’ lives. 🙂

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