Many wonderful people from all around the world have followed the events surrounding the tragic passing of Annie Schmidt, daughter or Jon Schmidt of The Piano Guys. Many knew her, but most did not and were captivated by the story as it unfolded over many days.
Annie is now a part of everyone, even if they never met her. Her life has impacted so very many people world-wide. The story is not over, and it does not have to end. We can keep her influence alive simply by being an influence ourselves.
Annie was kind and thoughtful. She was constantly seeing needs in others and putting them above her own. She knew how to reach out and help someone right when they needed it most because she was in tune with the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost which is something we could all emulate in our efforts to be a better person, regardless of which particular Church we belong to.
Annie had genuine love for others. When she looked at someone, even someone she did not know, she did not just see them with her own eyes. She saw them the way the Savior Jesus Christ sees them – with unconditional love. This does not mean approval, but it does mean she felt love for them regardless of whether she agreed with them or not. The result was a loving concern and kindness towards everyone. We can all find ways to love others as God and Jesus Christ love them. We can carry on for Annie if we will learn to feel genuine love for others, and help them to feel our love by the things we say and do.
Annie chose to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Regardless of which denomination each of us belongs to, we can look at her example and incorporate it into our own life. As a missionary she studied, prayed, taught those who wished to learn, and found opportunities to love and serve the people where she lived.
Whatever church we belong to, we can become a better member of that church. We can study and learn, pray to understand, and find ways to be of service within our religious community. We can take our increasing faith and use that to motivate our actions to make the world a better place, one person at a time. Just as Annie influenced the lives of others, we can do the same within our own sphere of influence.
Daily service is not difficult. Everyone we meet has a problem, or perhaps many problems that weigh them down. We can help lift their burden and find joy in spite of the adversity they face. If nothing else, look people in the eye and smile. Annie seemed to never stop smiling. Try it today. Look someone in the eye, smile, and keep smiling as you watch their face light up with a smile of their own.
Annie was a person who loved life, and had a great reverence and respect for nature and its wonders all around us. I’ve been a volunteer EMT, and have done volunteer search and rescue. What happened to Annie is not unique. She died because of a tragic accident in a fall from a scenic height where she had climbed to see the beauty around her. She made a few mistakes, which we can learn from. The Boy Scouts have a great rule we can all learn from – the Buddy Rule. Always have one or more people with you wherever you go and whatever you do. Respect for nature and a thirst to enjoy it first-hand also means having the training and skills to take on the challenges. Going on a nature hike may be filled with hazards and dangers. We need to always read and study the information about the area we will explore, and take the recommended precautions to avoid harm.
Annie has a profound love of her Heavenly Father and trusted in Him. However, bad things happen to good people every day. Why? Because God wants us to learn, and so as much as it hurts to see us make choices that may cause us sorrow and harm, as much as it pains Him to see others make wrong choices that also affect us in negative ways, God gives us freedom to make our own choices and does not force us to choose. However, He does try to influence us. Every person born into this world is born with the Light of Christ, a guide, and a help to us throughout our life. Think of it as our conscience, which whispers to our mind. Sometimes we hear and follow, yet other times the noise of our emotions or the noise of the world around us drowned out that still small voice. And other times we do hear it, but choose to ignore it. Let us all learn to hear, and choose to follow so that our lives might be blessed and we can be a light to others.
We cannot change the world, or solve all the world’s many problems. We can make a difference in the life of one person at a time, and encourage them to do the same. Let us all do all that we can to love and serve those around us in such a way that they feel our genuine love for them, and remember to not go alone in anything we do in our lives.
Whether we knew Annie personally, or came to know her as a result of the accident and subsequent search efforts, we have all been blessed by her. Now we can honor her by finding ways to extend her influence. She was an agent of change in each of us, and now we can be an agent of change for others.