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85,000.  Strange number right?  Well, that’s how many hits my website has had since I posted my letter to Kennywood Park last Thursday.  Am I bragging?  No.  Normally, I get anywhere 200 – 1200 on any given day that I post.  I know my place.  However, I must ask myself, “Why?”

Well, there is the obvious.  It is a tremendous story.  Ok.  It deals with the loss of a loved one which we all can identify with whether we want to or not.  Further, it deals with the loss of a child which is something (horrifically) many have dealt with but everyone at some level fears.  Further, Kennywood (or your favorite park of your youth) is etched into our memories forever.  The sights, sounds, smells, experiences are as new today as they were as far back as we can remember.  Go there now (in your mind).  You can almost see, hear, smell, the park of your youth.  Memories flood your mind of good times and even not so great ones.  However, there is something else that I think struck a nerve.  It comes from that still small voice inside of you.  It comes from that somewhat hidden if not dark place that you pretend isn’t there.  It, if you dare let it speak, asks a question.

“Do I matter?”

My letter let the fine people of Kennywood know that they sure did matter to at least one kid who loved that place more than any other, except for Grandma’s (not really but she reads these…ssshhhhh).  But what about you?  You don’t work there.  You probably don’t work anywhere that comes close to resembling an amusement park.  Thus, you ask yourself, “Do I matter?”

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  I don’t care who you are.  You matter.  I don’t care what you do.  You matter.  I don’t care how big or small your family is.  You matter.  I don’t care if you have 100 or 0 friends.  You matter.  Your greatest accomplishment, your most colossal failure?  You matter.

You matter, first of all, because you made it here.  It’s an old joke but you were one of millions of little ones swimming to get that one egg…AND YOU WON!  From a cosmic perspective you are already a miracle and in the bonus round.  It makes much less sense to believe that you are here to not matter than to think that there is a purpose for you and that you do, in fact, matter.

If you are a person of faith and believe in God by all means there is a mountain of proof that you matter.  It’s called, “The Bible.”  You know, the same book that so many use to separate, divide, judge, and justify?  It also tells of the truth that is that the God of the Universe, of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, the One who created the heavens and earth, created you as well.  He chose to die, for you.  He chose to rise from the dead, for you.  He ascended into heaven and gave all who believe (and you too if you believe) His Holy Spirit.  Do we “deserve” all of that?  Based on our “performance” or track record?  No.  Then He must have decided that we worthy because we…matter.

If you are not a person of faith (and that’s more than your right), and perhaps you’ve stopped reading at this point, do you matter?  Yes.  Each day that you have you have the opportunity to impact the life of another.  A simple word, a simple gesture, a single nonverbal moment of eye contact can impact the life of another human being.  It doesn’t have to be this huge thought out gigantic 10 step plan to impact this segment of society.  It’s you making your segment of society just a bit better.  If you live in a super wealthy gated subdivision of a major metropolitan city (as most of my readers do I presume) being the one person who asks “How are you?” and actually listens could be the most refreshing thing anyone there ever hears.  If you are reading this from the solitary confinement in prison (and really, if you are in solitary you really need to stop breaking the rules and being online HAS to be one of them.  I’m flattered but please, it’s not too late to turn your life around!) you can still have an impact on the life of the one guard who comes your way…you matter.

Trey mattered and he had no clue.  He impacted the life of thousands…and does still to this day 6 months after his passing and one week short of his birthday.  What was his master plan?  How much time did he spend thinking about how to get noticed, how to impact, how to stand out, how to love, how to brighten anyone’s day?  As his father I will tell you…not much.  He just was.  If only we could be the same way…but we can’t.  Oh, we can try.  We can try to drown out that voice of doubt, of fear, of guilt.  It’s a very quiet but oh too persistent of a voice.

Brief aside.  You might be comparing yourself to those who seem so confident, seem so put together, seem to have all the answers.  THOSE people really matter.  Do you know why they are so driven?  Why they push so hard?  Why they seem to matter so much?  More often than not, they are haunted by the very question that taunts you.  They stay way ahead of that ghost that chases them lest they have to face it in a quiet moment.

Sadly, you very well may know that you matter but you don’t feel like you do.  I’m the same way (mostly when I get less than 5 hours of sleep in a given night).  The reason behind that are the hurts that have come your way over the years, starting way…way…way back.  “If x,y,z, happened to me than I must not be worthy of anything good and thus am not capable of anything good” is basically what runs through your mind.  Oh, it may be not be audible or exactly that thought out, but the fear is there.

My heart is broken for your hurts.  My website is devoted to healing those hurts, not just thinking about them differently.  My goal is to teach and help you find people to mourn with you rather than telling you to not mourn at all.  We are all beaten down to a point where we wonder if we…you guessed it, matter at all.

Let me tell you, if you are reading this, and if you read my post the other day, you do matter.  You at least gave one grieving dad an amazing 5 day period where he realized (again) that out of pain comes healing, that comfort equips us to comfort others, that his little boy was not a tragedy but a miracle…as we all are.

Thank you.

ps-if you are new to my site, simply search what is on your heart and see what pops up.  There are categories and tags and the typical blog search engine stuff.  I have found that those who spend a few minutes find what they are looking for in short order.

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