A Dollar of Difference
Updated: Mar 31, 2022
Liz stared at the computer screen in front of her. Feelings of discouragement washed over her. She had worked for almost a year now to build her foundation to help abused women, but so far, she had struck out in obtaining much of any support for her cause.
Another bill was due, but more women had also been abused, and she had not been able to reach them. Her prayers to God were that someone with resources would be willing to share. Even $10 from a thousand people could go such a long way.
“Is it too much to ask for a movie ticket from a thousand people?” she wondered. “To help abused women? Why don’t they see how far just one of their movie tickets would go?”
Liz knew she could do so much for these women with $1,000. Those she had talked to about her cause all told her how wonderful and inspiring it was, but none gave anything to help her in her efforts.
She felt alone, having escaped an abusive relationship herself. She wanted nothing more than to help other women in the same situation, but she didn’t know how. She didn’t have the funds necessary to even keep her foundation’s website functional.
Closing her computer, she stood up, put on her coat, and went outside. The air was cold, similar to the feeling inside her. The thought of giving up was painful, but she had no idea how to pay the bills or accomplish anything without some funds.
As she walked, she found that the tears fell readily, without much resistance. In her mind’s eye, she could see so many women, faces that haunted her, people she knew that needed help. She felt strongly that she was able to escape her relationship so that she could help others do the same, but nothing was working out.
It had been a long and tiring journey, full of late nights making a website, writing her foundation’s plan, reaching out to business owners and community members, learning legal and accounting to be able to submit her 501(c)(3) application, and otherwise learning to do all that is required of a non-profit.
She didn’t pay much attention to where she was walking. Her heart and mind were preoccupied with the weight of her failures. She knew that her website would be turned off in the next few days for failure to pay the yearly fee. It hurt too much to fully process though.
Eventually, she looked up to realize that she was nearing the city district that housed the homeless shelter. She certainly hadn’t taken the path consciously, but it made her heart hurt more as she knew that she was drawn to helping these women. So many of them in abusive relationships and needed help.
She stopped walking to draw in a few deep breaths. She wasn’t sure she could handle seeing those who needed her. Most of the homeless congregated in the next few blocks, and she knew she didn’t have enough emotional energy to walk further through their areas. She also knew, though, that turning around and going home would be symbolic of turning her back on those that needed her. It would be symbolic of her efforts ending in failure.
Liz felt stuck. She stood still on the sidewalk, her emotions churning inside her. The cold air nipped at her face and hands. Shivering, she realized that she had been staring for some time as people passed by on the downtown sidewalk.
Not knowing what else to do, she said a silent prayer in her heart. “God, please help me. I have given this all that I have. They need help. Please don’t leave them.”
As she opened her eyes, she desperately searched her heart and mind for a thought or answer. Silence and the pain of desperation were all that she could sense inside. Taking a deep breath as she braced to turn around and head home, she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Do you need anything?” a kind voice asked. “I have watched you standing out here for some time now.”
Trying to not look or sound too surprised, Liz responded “Oh! Thanks. Um, no, I’m not looking for anything specific. I’m just…” her voice trailed off as she tried to think of what to say that wouldn’t bring tears to her eyes.
The woman talking to Liz appeared to be a waitress from a restaurant on the street. She was short with brown hair that was not fully kept up, and she did not appear too well off herself.
“I understand” the woman said to Liz. “Tell you what, I sense that there is something heavy in your heart, but I get that I may not be the person to help. I don’t have a lot to offer, but here is something that might help. Someone gave it to me years ago and it has helped me get through a few hard times.”
The woman reached into her pocket and handed Liz a crumpled one-dollar bill. Liz tried to protest, but the woman was determined and Liz knew she wasn’t in a great emotional state to continue the conversation, so she said “thank you” to the woman and started walking home.
As she walked, she pulled the bill open and looked at it. On the dollar bill, someone had written “I believe in you.”
Something touched her deep inside. The woman didn’t know her, but for some reason, she wanted to share that she believed in Liz.
As Liz walked, she reflected on the dollar. She felt even more pressure to make things work, to not let the woman down. She could tell things had not been easy for the woman, so why did she share?
Liz walked slowly, her heart recognizing that God had answered her prayer, but the rest of her frustrated that it was not as she had hoped. Honestly, she had hoped for a lot of money from a rich person, not a dollar bill from a struggling waitress.
Knowing though that it was important to be grateful, Liz stopped and said another silent prayer, thanking God for the manifestation of belief in her. She told God that she still didn’t understand what to do about the looming bills and the work so far, but she tried to push past her initial hopes and thank Him nonetheless.
As she started walking again, her eyes fell on a sign for a local radio station. Her heart jumped. “Believe” her heart said. “Believe.”
Her mind immediately told her all of the reasons why a radio station would have no interest in her. Her heart kept saying to believe.
“What do I have to lose?” she finally thought to herself. “It is all going to fail anyways.”
Liz walked through the doors of the local radio station’s office and was greeted by a receptionist. “Are you here for someone?” the receptionist asked.
“Um, I run a local non-profit and I was wondering if there was a way for me to share about my work.” Liz immediately felt ashamed, feeling like it was a very poor way to present herself.
“What does your non-profit do?” the receptionist asked.
“It, I, uh, we work to help women who have been abused” Liz answered. “I was able to escape an abusive relationship, and so I am working to help others do the same and find some healing.”
“It sounds really neat” the receptionist replied. “Just this morning, our morning talk show host mentioned that he needed to find someone to be on his show to discuss abuse and how to help those who are being abused. Would you like me to put you in touch with him?”
Liz couldn’t believe her ears, and her heart nearly leapt out of her chest. “Yes,” she said feeling hope for the first time in a long time, “yes, please connect us.”
At Believe, we strongly believe in the power of today. All of us have the resources, connections, talents, or personal worth to help another person, today.
For some, $20 will make all of the difference, such as with a non-profit getting its first donation or a business owner making her first product sale. For others, a like on their social media post can mean so much as they try to grow their sphere of influence.
It does not take millions to make a difference. Today is a gift full of opportunities for you to make a difference, with what you have. Someone always needs a hug, a kind word, a smile, or a phone call. Someone always needs someone to believe in them, to donate a few dollars, or to sit with them and provide some feedback.
If you are working to build something, you may go through long periods where you feel you are on your own. Even in those moments, remember to embrace the power of today. Each day, you can take the opportunity to try something new. Stop by a radio station. Reach out to an attorney and ask for free help. Pitch your idea to an investor. Do something that logic says shouldn’t work, even if it is just for the experience.
We can each help to change the world, for good. We just need to start believing in the power of today.
Today is when things happen. Remember to use it to help someone, as well as to build something good yourself.
We would love to have you join us as we work to build good in the world, today. We believe in you and that you are capable of great things, so don’t give up. Good things are still to come.