Read a FREE Excerpt

The First Simple Shift

The young man felt a deep ache in his belly. He shielded his eyes with his arm and leaned against a tree, grief wracking his entire body.

Just then, a soft hand gently rubbed his back, and a small voice quivered, "Don't cry. He'll always be alive in our hearts. He meant so much to all of us."

He turned to see a frail older woman, hunched over her walking stick, barely mustering enough strength to soothe him with her hand.

He strained to recognize her. She appeared to be in her late eighties. Her stooped shoulders accentuated her dimunitive form. Despite her sagging face and hands, she had eyes that were strong and somehow sad at the same time. Her prominent nose hinted a regal background.

In a small but reassuring voice, she told him, "You don't know me but I know you."

A smile radiated her craggly face. "Your father was such a great man. He changed my whole life. I thought you would like to know!"

He wanted to ask, Do you know anything about my father's secrets?

Instead, he asked, "How did you know my father?"

She replied coyly, "I never actually met him. But he did change my whole life!"

He nodded, encouraging her to go on.

Her eyes went moist. "Your father gave my son back to me!"

His mind was now racing, trying to connect the dots — You never met my father but he gave your son back to you? How? When? What did he do?

But he nodded again silently.

"My son knew your father."

Her face crumpled and she cried softly into a laced handkerchief she'd pulled from her purse.

He placed his hand gently on her back to soothe her. "It's okay, it will all be okay," he said calmly, although he couldn't stand the suspense any longer.

After a while, she cleared her throat and said, "Because of your father, my son's whole life changed. And when my son's life changed, life as I knew it also changed."

She added in barely a whisper, "And now, because of what your father started, the whole world has changed for my sister, bless her soul!"

"What did my father do for your sister?"

She squinted. "You know, I don't think my sister knows anything about your father."

The rain had subsided to barely a trickle. People had loosely started forming a line again.

The young man lowered his head. How did Father change the lives of people he hadn't met? How did he change the lives of people who didn't know anything about him?

Guilt clutched his heart. While he had devoted his life to climbing up the corporate ladder, leaving all the people he knew behind in his wake, his father had devoted his life to making the world a better place, touching the lives of people he didn't know.

The Old Lady put her finger tenderly under his chin and looked at his face. "I didn't realize until recently how much we affect the lives of those around us, even people we don't know," she told him.

Her voice breaking, she continued, "Your father affected so many people — including my son. My son, then, affected everyone in his life — his wife, his children, his coworkers, his boss, his employees and me. I am now affecting my sister and my church group. It's a matter of time before my sister affects a whole group of new people!"

She smiled. "Your father started a tiny ripple with my son. Look how far the ripple has come!"

As though she had read his skepticism, she added, "If you had told me just a few months ago, I wouldn't have believed this was possible. Who would have imagined that one person can affect people they don't even know!"

She continued, "I did a few calculations on the way here today." Her bony fingers moved as though punching the digits on a small calculator. "Suppose each of us affects just nine people. Suppose each of us affects these nine people in such a way that each of them affects another nine people each. And suppose, in this way, every individual affects another nine people each.

"Assuming that each time we are affecting nine new people, by the time we are just ten tiers deep, we will have collectively changed the lives of nearly half the people on this planet!

"Imagine! Three billion people! We will have literally touched enough people to change nearly the whole world!"

She paused to collect her breath. "Every individual has the power to change the world! That is the legacy your father left behind for all of us!"

The young man rubbed his temples. So many questions were buzzing through his mind, he wasn't sure where to start. How is all this possible? How can one person affect so many?

Finally, he asked, "How did your son affect your life?"

The Old Lady studied his face for a moment. "Do you have any idea what it is like to be old?"

He saw her hands were trembling. Knowing instinctively they were trembling with pain, not the damp cold, he gently placed his hands over hers.

She continued, "All the people near and dear to me are gone. I have one son who lives only about a hundred miles away. But I rarely see him. He has a busy life — wife, career, kids. So many things that demand his attention, he hardly has any time for me. I had started wondering if I mattered to him anymore."

Her chest heaving, she continued, "One day, I noticed that things had somehow changed with my son. I couldn't quite put my finger on what. He wasn't doing anything different when he was with me. He wasn't spending any more time with me. He wasn't calling or visiting any more frequently. But I noticed that, somehow, every moment he spent with me felt more fulfilling, more gratifying, almost magical." Touching her chest softly, she added, "In here!"

Her voice now became a little wobbly. "Even our brief weekly phone calls had somehow become more precious.

"At first, I was afraid to ask him what had changed. I was afraid of breaking the spell. It literally felt like a spell had been cast over us. A spell that had changed everything.

"But one day, after several months had gone by, and the spell still hadn't been broken, I told him how happy I was. How I didn't feel so lonely any more. How I really treasured our phone calls and our visits.

"That's when he told me about the day he met your father! That's when he told me about the day your father shared a little secret with him!"

She looked at the young man and her face lit up. "Let me tell you what my son told me about that day —"

Previous   Read the rest — Order the Book   Next

Take a sneak peak at this heartwarming parable.
From the list below, select any section of the parable you would like to read.
You may also share the parable with your friends.

Front Cover
The First Page
An Ending
A New Perspective
The First Simple Shift
The Second Simple Shift
The Third Simple Shift
A Challenge

Yes, You Can Change the World - Order the Book

Yes, You Can Change the World by Aman Motwane
Copyright. All rights reserved.