Sunday Inspiration: 16 Square Feet

Group of women standing in the circle, smiling at the camera, low angle view.

So often we — and I certainly include myself here — bemoan how little can be done by one individual to affect the world.

But have you ever asked yourself what you can do to affect the 16 feet around you?

Recently I ran across an article in our local paper titled “Life philosophy in 16 square feet.” It’s worth a read.

Elihu Wallace is a 79 year old man who has worked at a variety of jobs, has raised a family, and has been involved in his church. Over the years he developed a life philosophy that he needs to be responsible not for the entire planet, but for the 16 square feet around him.

That’s 4 feet in each direction. Not a large space, but just large enough for him to make a difference in the lives of many people, especially boys and young men. He realizes how important it is that young people be raised with strong values, so as a crossing guard, a Big Brother, and a father and friend to many, he does what he can to teach values of integrity, responsibility, and self-esteem, while having a good time — he teaches golf to boys as well.

I like this idea of looking after the 16 square feet around us. It’s not nearly as overwhelming as taking care of the entire planet. Though I remain concerned for what’s going on in the larger world, I feel more powerful and effective when I accept responsibility for overseeing the space and the people and the events in this small space that encircles me.

As we gather together for the holidays, this life philosophy is especially important. What can we do in this sacred time to enliven and enlighten those we love so much, those who are only a hug away? What can we do to transform this small circle with love and compassion?

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