“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations, among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.” 1 Chronicles 16:23
In a commencement address to the University of Texas, Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, told the graduates about the grueling training required to become a member of the Navy’s special forces unit, the SEAL team.
One particularly challenging portion happens during the ninth week of training, boldly referred to as Hell Week. This consists of six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and one extra arduous day at the Mud Flats. These Flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slews—a swampy patch of land where the mud can engulf a person.
On Wednesday of Hell Week, the candidates paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure from the instructors to quit. On one particular Wednesday evening as the sun began to set, the men were ordered into the mud which covered them up to their heads. The instructors told them they could leave the mud if five men would quit, just five men & they all could get out of the oppressive cold.
It was still over eight hours until the sun would rise. The freezing mud chilled each man to the bone. Looking around the mud flat, it was apparent that some were about to give up. The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything. But then, one voice began to pierce through the cacophony of misery.
One voice began to sing. Completely out of tune, this voice was laced with enthusiasm and somehow, strength. Soon, that one voice became two, and two became three, and before long everyone in the class was singing. They sensed that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well. The instructors threatened them with more time in the mud if they kept singing, but no one wanted to stop. The singing continued. And believe it or not, the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.
Admiral McRaven went on to point out that one thing he’s learned during his days spent traveling the world is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan named Malala—can change the world by giving people hope.
One person, one voice, has the power to change our day or even change our world. This season of Easter is a great time to focus on the song you are putting out in the world. If it is not the song you want to sing, maybe now is the right time to change your tune.
Watering the Seeds
Think of a time when one person changed the way you saw something or felt about something?
What can you do today to be that one voice that might make a difference to someone else?