It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

~Robert Francis Kennedy~

Last night at the stroke of midnight, I found myself standing on an empty beach, staring up at the moon.  My husband and dog by my side, we stood quietly and listened to the soft breeze from the  ocean whip through the tall grasses of the dunes.  The moon glistened its beams across the water, and served as our lantern as we navigated the  beach in the dead of night.

It was beautiful, quiet and reverent.  We gave thanks for our lives, and all the blessings. I gave thanks for my son Brendan, and the amazing young man he has become.  And we remembered Stephen, thinking about his smile, his giving nature, his ability to see the good in each and every situation. Of course, this day will always be a reminder of the moment he left us.  But, we choose to focus on this day as a celebration of him and the impact his life has made, and continues to make with his ripple.

I think that it what I find so amazing as I reflect back over the past three years.  His ripple continues. 

It travels within the lives of each of his family and friends.  The ripple reminds us all to make the most of our time here, to celebrate the  “one little things” in life.  The blessings that cannot be purchased, but rather sit within our hearts.  Stephen’s ripple urges us to seek out and find the purpose in our own lives, to look within and find the connection to a life that is larger than our own imagination.

And that’s just the people he knew.  With JOLT, we have people from all corners of the earth who come together to talk about their “one little things.”  Some may know that Stephen is the inspiration for this movement, others may not.  But, they sit within the ripple of his life, affected by this boy they never met.

And so today three years later, that is the message I have for you.  Look at the difference a life can make.  Look at the ripple that can extend from a life well lived.

Each day I wake up, I think about Stephen’s ripple, and I ask myself about my own.  I can only hope that I can create a beautiful, loving ripple with my life as well.

And what about you?  What’s your ripple looking like so far?

Death is never easy to understand.  But it presents us with an opportunity to grow and learn.  It sends a clear message of the impermanence of our existence, and forces us to confront our own lives with a magnifying glass.  That is a good thing.  Don’t run away from it because it hurts. Learn from it, and let the ripples of another teach you about the impact of your own life.

Take some time today to celebrate Stephen’s ripple, as well as think about your own,