Sitting alongside the Mighty Murray River are some of my most blissful and restorative moments I am privileged to enjoy in my current location. I find the water so beautiful to watch and the lessons I learn from taking time out from my energetic and loud life so meaningful I now try to do it on a weekly basis.
Last week I was angry about some behaviour that had impacted me and I thought was quite rude and disrespectful. My initial thought was to express this emotion to the person in question, but instead I took some time out. It was my day off and I headed to the river bank to take a breath. The river was unusually still on this morning. The surface was like glass, more like a lake than the flowing stream of water.
As I was brooding about my hurt feelings, a small water craft cruised along the river. It was a fishing boat that held two people, all kitted out ready to try their hand at catching something from the water. It wasn’t doing a great speed, and it seemed to almost glide along with only minimal sound. I didn’t think about it too much as it drifted out of sight, around the bend.
It was almost a full minute before the impact of this small craft became more evident to me. It was the sound that drew my attention first, of water lapping at the shore of the sandy riverside. “Waves? Where did they come from?” was my initial thought. The water had been so calm for so long it took me a few moments to join the dots. The little boat had caused some ripples as a result of it’s journey along the river, and these ripples had become larger as they gathered momentum and reached the shore.
While these were small scale waves, they were proportionally larger than what they had started out as. By the time they reached the river’s edge they were easily able to make their presence felt. My mind sparked with multiple thoughts related to the impact that had caused this phenomenon and how it could speak to my life.
Impact. Influence. Impression. These are the ripples we can leave and we may not have any idea on how much any of this will be felt as we are moving through our lives, and they can be both positive or destructive. Often the result of our passing by is only felt long after we are out of sight, and we may never know. I was captured with the recognition that there is some control I have on how I move through life and the types of ripples I leave in my wake.
End result? I made the choice that day to respond to someone who had hurt me with love and grace and honesty. I may not ever know the effect of these ‘ripples’ on their life, but I believe it was God speaking to me and through me, and I am eternally grateful I chose to be gentle on this occasion.