The Little Box


Jason, thank you again, for asking me to do a guest post on your blog. I’m just sorry that it took me so long to get it to you. I tend to believe that things happen when they are meant to most times, so maybe this was the exact time. Who knows?

Thank you so much for including me. You have had some amazing guest bloggers. And I can’t keep up with the pace you blog at. It’s a very nice place to come and read for inspiration.

The Little Box

By Melissa Carey

I often wonder if what I do means anything to anyone.

I spend a lot of time blogging about non-profit organizations in the Pittsburgh area. In many cases, I have attended an event for their cause and done video interviews and/or highlights during the event for the online community journalism site, Pittsburgh On Video, for which I am a volunteer correspondent.

Unfortunately, people like to read about grief and misery, loss and disaster, chaos and crime much more than good deeds and nice people. Even when the people and deeds are integral to the strength of our communities, they are too often ignored. I sometimes wonder if it is a case of, “Oh, good. Someone else is doing it, so I don’t have to worry about it.” While I do tend to get a spike in readers when I post something new, and my readership has grown steadily over the year that I have been doing this, I still see that people gravitate toward a negative story, rather than the positive ones. (I have another blog I write that helps people who have customer service complaints. It can get three times as many hits in one day as the “nice blog.”)

I started the Simply Put blog because I see the good in people. While so much of the world says that things are horrible and no one cares, I meet good, honest, giving people every single day. My mission in writing the posts there is to help others see the good around them as well.

I had serious doubts a few months ago about keeping up the blog with its current content because there is a lack of feedback, comments or subscribers to let me know that anyone really wants to read what I am saying. I was frustrated in not knowing if I was reaching anyone out there.

And then.

Then someone I had just met on Twitter came across my blog, and it affected him in such a way that he quietly wrote his own blog post about how my post about Joyce Rothermel (former CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank) made him feel – from the Aug. 30, 2011 Getting Well For The First Time blog:

“What I started to feel was being part of something great, something special that helped others. I want to feel that way again. But I don’t know how to be a part of that without losing myself. Can you tell me?”

I realized the moment I read his story, that’s why I am the way I am. That’s why I write what I write. It’s why I give my time to volunteer the skills I can as a writer, speaker and work as a social media consultant primarily for non-profits. Because if one person finds my words and it helps them learn something new or motivates them to participate in part of the bigger picture or anything POSITIVE, then I will continue to do what I do.

With that said, I still have moments of doubt about what I do. Is anyone out there really listening? Does what I write about make a difference? I had one of those days again today. 

And then.

I had asked if any organization who was participating in Pittsburgh’s third annual Day of Giving (hosted by The Pittsburgh Foundation on Oct. 4) needed help spreading the word about themselves to contact me, and I would donate my time to write a blog post about them. I was actually nervous to ask because sometimes I just don’t know if anyone really wants my kind of help. Six of them took me up on the offer. Still worried that maybe no one really does care to read the nice, good, positive stories, I’ve been evaluating what content to offer as I begin my second year on the blog.

This tweet that one of the non-profits sent me changed my perspective today…

“@mcb1219 — thanks again for helping promote SHIM for #pgdog. Last year: $1,500. This year: $13,000. #omg” 

I don’t know what part of that came from what I did. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the organization liked the post, had something new to promote for their cause, and we now have a connection that is meaningful to each of us. We shared our gifts with one another.

Life’s a lesson learned in hindsight most times. But each one of us has something special to offer. We all have some skill that is needed by someone. If you feel something call to you, go out and do it. Even when others tell you it isn’t worth it. Even when no one tells you what you’re doing makes a difference. If you think it is important, then it is. If it feels right to you, then it is. Have the foresight to know who you are and where you want to be in this moment.

Our life is a gift that we unwrap in layers. It’s like the box within the box, within the box.  Each one holds a new piece of ourselves. The best part of the gift is that we can choose what is inside. What do you want to see of yourself; what are you ready to be when the next layer is opened? When we get to the tiniest box inside, the one that holds the most memorable gift, what piece of your life will be reflected there?

How will what you have done in life relate to what means the most to you in the final box?

I hope that if your life isn’t going the direction you like, you will change it. If you believe in something, you will work to promote it. If you desire acceptance of who you are, you will be accepting of others as they are. I hope that when you unwrap your next layer, you will find positive energies and wonderful blessings to share with those around you. I hope that when you doubt the work you do, that you will find the answer inside yourself and stay strong in your goals. I hope that you will share your thanks and gratitude with others for the gifts you receive. And always, always, always choose to see the good around you.

When you wonder if what you are doing is worth it, if anyone values what you do, just remember that people are always watching, looking, listening, and learning from your actions, words and examples. You never know whose life you will touch by any one simple act.

Will I stop blogging and doing video for the good people of the great organizations around me? Simply put, no. This is the layer I have unwrapped, and it feels like a wonderful present. As long as there’s the possibility that one person out there might come along and be changed by the content I share, I will be there for them to find.

About Melissa Carey

Melissa Carey is a mother, social causes lover, freelance writer, social media consultant and soon-to-be-published tween youth author. For more information on her activities, visit her blog and check her out on Facebook. Watch video interviews and event coverage by Melissa on Pittsburgh On Video, You Tube and Vimeo.

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