“Most people never get a standing ovation.” – Andy Andrews
I received a standing ovation once in my life. A friend of mine and I wrote a song for our high school choir to perform at graduation. He wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. The first performance of the song was at our Spring Choir Concert. Our director, Mr. Peery, introduced the song and us as the composers. We sang and, in all sincerity, it was beautiful because of the music my friend wrote. My lyrics were fine, but let’s just say that there’s a reason he is now composing music for movies and TV shows in Hollywood – he’s that good. It reminds me a little of my cousin’s experience of being a good high school football wide receiver. My cousin was good, but he was a lot better because he was catching balls thrown by the future Pittsburgh Steeler and Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
At the end of our song, the entire audience stood up and cheered for us! Even the other choir members cheered and applauded us. It was, and remains, one of the greatest moments of my life. The memory of moments like that is special. Andy Andrews talked about sharing that experience with others on his “In the Loop” podcast last week (“What’s Your Legacy?”):
“By helping others and adding value to other people we, in a sense, are giving them a ‘standing ovation.’ The ripple effect of your actions will impact others in ways that you may never know.” – Andy Andrews
Listening to Andy, I was reminded of a pastor friend of mine who told me about a ‘standing ovation’ kind of moment he had once (he didn’t call it that, but it fits with Andy’s idea). After church one Sunday, the pastor was greeting people in his congregation, as he did every Sunday. He went up to an elderly widow, put his arm around her shoulder, and asked her how she was doing. To his surprise, she started weeping immediately. When she managed to calm down enough to speak, she said, “You’re the first person to touch me since my husband died.” That was three years earlier.
Can you imagine? Going years without the slightest affectionate touch from another person? I can’t. I don’t think I’d last that long. I can go the rest of my life without another standing ovation. And, truthfully, I could have lived just fine without the one I got. But I’d wither and die without the loving touch of my wife, my kids, family, and friends. People near us are dying and we don’t even see it sometimes. Now, imagine if my friend hadn’t put his arm around her that day. She may never have identified the cancer that was attacking her soul. One small act of kindness, a smile, or a kind word can make a big difference.
“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
I know it’s not likely that we’ll each get a standing ovation in life, but what can you do to give someone a one-person standing ovation today? You never know how big the impact will be.