Those You Touch...You Change
A study by Jack Demirgian of the Argonne National Laboratory revealed that a full 78% of the currency circulating in Miami and other major US cities carries trace amounts of cocaine. That's probably true elsewhere, too.
They were only looking for cocaine, but I wonder what else might be found on the bills? Maybe fast-food products, such as frying grease, mustard or teriyaki sauce? Tea or coffee? And how about rouge or lipstick from purses and lint from pockets? Perhaps ink from a leaky pen? I've found more indistinguishable stains on some of my money than I care to think about.
What's more, we're told that if they look closely enough, they can even learn something about where your money has been. To the store. To the beach. Even hidden beneath a mattress.
Just about anything that comes into contact with money leaves a bit of itself behind. Then, when the bills rub up against each other in a wallet or billfold, they share contaminates. Everything the bills touch will be changed, however slightly.
So it is with us. Everything we touch is changed. I used to play English hand bells. "Don't touch the bells with your bare hands," we were told. "Wear gloves." The oils from our hands changed the quality of the bells.
Everything we touch is changed. And everybody we touch is changed -- even if we're not infected with something contagious. I'm not only talking about physical touch, either. Often we touch their minds and spirits and hearts. Everybody we speak to, rub shoulders with or even smile at...is changed in some minute way. These changes can be helpful or hurtful, depending on our interaction. It is like leaving a piece of ourselves behind with everyone we meet, and taking a piece of them with us.
And even little changes can make a difference. NO ONE is insignificant in this regard.
Bette Reeves said, "If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito." You don't need to be a mosquito to have an effect on people around you. The question is: what little part of yourself will you leave behind? How will you influence them? Will your encounter be thoughtful or hurried? Helpful or harmful? Intentional or accidental?
There is something awe-inspiring about the influence we have on one another. Whom will you touch today? What will you leave behind, and what will you take with you?