It Only Takes One
I recently talked with a young man who has struggled with many challenges in life. He is an outstanding young man who is determined to make a success of his life despite disabilities he was born with, along with other challenges that have impacted his life. He talked about what he felt was his own lack of talent or meaningful contribution to offer others. After listening to him talk for awhile about his love for people and how inspired he is by those with disabilities and special needs, I had to respond by telling him how moved I was to see how lovingly he expressed his caring for others. "Love for another person is the greatest gift you can ever give anyone." And then I told him the story of Matthew Christian Whitaker, and how the concern and caring of one person, a total stranger, resulted in changing a life forever.
Twenty years ago, a woman was running on a trail with her dog near her home in the hills of Southern California. Her dog became distracted by something in the bushes alongside the trail, so she went over to check it out herself. She saw what looked like tiny feet sticking out of the dirt, so she first thought it was some kind of little animal. Then she heard a cry. Digging in with her hands, she found a newborn baby that had been abandoned and buried alongside the trail. The baby boy was alive but struggling. She cleaned out his nose and mouth so he could breathe better, called 911, and waited for rescue. The baby boy was taken into emergency, his body temperature had dropped to 80F but otherwise he seemed stable. She stayed with him while he was in the hospital, and then social services took over his care. Meanwhile, she had given the boy her own nickname of "Christian."
Before long the baby was adopted by a very loving and dedicated family, and the woman was no longer able to be in contact with him. For twenty years she never forgot him and she prayed for him almost daily.
Recently someone came across the original story and was intrigued to see what had developed in the twenty years since this baby's rescue. They did some investigating and were able to put the pieces together. The baby boy had been named Matthew Christian Whitaker, and he was raised in a loving home in California. Now at age 20 it was arranged for him to be reunited with the woman who saved his life.
It was a wonderful, tear-filled reunion. Matthew was able to visit the site where he had been found, which was so sobering for him to see and realize what easily could have been his grave, had it not been for one very determined woman.
I am sure as you read this story you share many of the same emotions I did. Anger that a mother or whoever was responsible could have done such a horrible thing to begin with. Then wondering what kind of wretched conditions their life must have been like to cause them to make this decision. Sharing the shock that woman must have experienced finding a newborn baby buried alongside that trail. Finally astonishment at the finely orchestrated convergence of events that allowed the whole story to emerge: the timing of the baby's birth, the morning she decides to go jogging, the curiosity of the dog, her clarity to immediately clear the baby’s airways, the speed at which rescue arrived. All of it. A few minutes, maybe even seconds, one way or the other and the entire story could have been very different, or never known at all.
Matthew Christian Whitaker is an honor student, going on to college with a strong career direction. He is a young man who, in all likelihood, will do well in life and have a positive impact on many other people. And now his story will impact millions who learn of him through various media channels.
All because of the difference one person made in one moment of time. I think much like the young man I spoke to recently, many of us wonder what we have to offer anyone else that is truly worthwhile.
And that's my point. It only takes one person, one moment of time, expressing love and caring for just one other person, to deeply impact a life, or eventually many lives. Forever.
We'd love to hear of some of your experiences and perspectives, if you wish to share your story we welcome you to contact us here and contribute to this discussion!
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Brian K. Wulf, Founder