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Changing the World

Adrian Patenaude

That's quite a dream you have there. What if it doesn't come true?

What if you don't end up changing the world?

I'm asking because, in reality, the results aren't in your control. You can put your whole life into your dream, but there's no determining what response you'll get. You could change 1000 people's lives. Or only 10. How many changed lives does it take to make it all worth it?

How about nine?

A song from the musical [title of show] declares,  "I'd rather be nine people's favorite thing than a hundred people's ninth favorite thing."

Is that enough for you? Maybe.

Let's take it a step further.

Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin wrote and directed a film called "My Life" about a father coming to terms with his impending death from a terminal illness. The film turned out to be an abysmal failure that appalled critics and flopped in theaters.

Rubin walked in shame for months afterwards -- until a woman at a party shared her story with him. Her husband had died from cancer last year and since then, her 12 year old son had been unable to speak about it. Now she was diagnosed with cancer and had six months to live. She told Rubin what happened after they went to see the film. Her son was sobbing when they got home.

"He crawled into my lap and he and I had the dialogue I needed to have to leave this world -- and it would not have happened without your movie. So thank you."

Rubin later described his response:

Something happened to me at that moment and I realized: I made the movie for her. And it was enough.

So is one person enough for you? After that story, anyone would declare a resounding "yes!"

But we can go even further.

Author Jon Acuff takes us the final step:

If only your life changed, would that be enough? If you killed yourself for years creating something and at the end of the experience, the only life that had changed was your own, would that be rewarding enough? If the experience was the lesson and the journey itself was the reward, would that be okay with you?

So what's worth it: nine, one or only you?

I'm still struggling with these questions. But for now, I'll focus on the journey and trust God with the results. 

What makes it worth it to you?