Scientists talk about what is known as The Butterfly Effect. It’s the notion, based on something called Chaos Theory, that a butterfly flapping its wings in the jungles of Peru can start a chain reaction of events that leads to a blizzard in Paris three weeks later. The point being that our world is more interconnected, and our actions more influential, than we might originally be led to think.
In other words, no one is an island unto themselves. What we say, what we do, impacts others around us.
Toby, in college, had intended to walk to his dorm and, with a bottle of sleeping pills in a drawer, end his life. His depression was, simply, too much; life, simply, became too hard. Not far from his room another student, whom he had recognized from a class the last semester but didn’t remember his name, was walking past and, seeing Toby, stopped.
“Hi, Toby,” he said. “How’s it going, man?”
For just a few minutes, maybe three, they talked; just small talk, nothing profound and Toby said nothing about his intended plans. But the fellow student’s gentleness, friendliness and his humble sincerity in being happy to see him, flipped a knob in Toby. His meaninglessness-and-hopelessness-of-life vanished, and Toby went back to his dorm, threw the pills down the toilet and got counseling.