The poet maryam kazmi wrote a piece she calls “Just One” that has gotten quite a bit of traction on the Internet. Here is her original:

One song can spark a moment 
One flower can wake a dream 
One tree can start a forest 
One bird can herald spring 

One smile begins friendship 
One handclasp lifts a soul 
One star can guide a ship at the sea
One word can frame a goal

One vote can change a nation 
One sunbeam lights a room 
One candle wipes all the darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom

One step must start each journey 
One word must start each prayer 
One hope will raise our spirits 
One touch can show you care 

One voice can speak with wisdom 
One heart can know what’s true 
One life can make a difference 
You see it’s up to you 

Do you ever think that one person really doesn’t matter? Tabitha Brown proved that one person can make a difference.

It was 1846. Grandma Brown, as she was affectionately called, joined one of the wagon trains of adventurers hoping to start a life in America’s west. She was 62 years old, only five feet tall and weighed all of 108 pounds when well-fed. Because she was partly paralyzed, she leaned on a cane and walked with a limp.

Along the way, Grandma Brown showed great courage and stamina. As she crossed the American Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, she nursed the wagon train’s sick. At one point she neared starvation herself after the caravan’s cattle were rustled off by Rogue River Indians.

Once they arrived in Oregon, she started an orphanage and one of the first schools in that part of the country. The so-called academy was established for all people, both rich and poor. The poor attended free while those who could afford paid a dollar a week for tuition and board.

As long as Grandma Brown was able, she worked to keep the institution alive. She attended to the students. She convinced would-be faculty of the need for teachers at the school. Many days found her hobbling about on her lame leg in the kitchen, kneading and baking the necessary daily bread.

Grandma Brown believed that one person can make a difference. Today, the institution she helped to build is still very much alive and well. It is known as Pacific University.

I particularly like how Sydney Smith once put it: “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.”

I think Grandma Brown got that.

— Steve Goodier

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