The Ripple Effect

When you drop even the tiniest grain of sand into a pool of water the ripples it creates go on for ever. So far removed from the original bit of sand that the ripple in the water doesn't even remember where it came from. Human actions can have the same effect. Sometimes the effect is positive and sometimes not.

I had the privilege to witness the polar opposites of the ripple effect during a last minute trip to the east coast for a funeral. It was eye opening!

The flight out should have been quick and painless. But what should have taken 1.5 hours took eight! Yes we live in Canada and the weather is unpredictable and of course safety is first. This had nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with an angry man who felt that his needs were more important than the 300 other passengers on the plane. It had everything to do with his need for a cigarette when the laws prohibited it. Unfortunately, when told he could not smoke on the plane he became very aggressive, pushing the stewardess and swearing at her. Koodos to the stewardess! She kept it together and did what she could until the police arrived!

Now this man was upset that he was no longer allowed to go on the plane. He held us up for at least 6 of those 8 hours through his actions. For us that delay meant we could no longer get a rental car from the airport because the rental company would be closed at 5am when the plane landed. It meant we now had to cab and the cost of the cab rides was significantly more than the car rental. It meant we no longer had the convenience of a car. It meant we couldn't take my daughter grocery shopping. It also meant we lost a night at the hotel and a night of sleep. It was close to meaning that we just might miss the funeral that was taking place at 11am the next morning! Luckily we made it in time for a two hour nap prior to. And finally for me it meant I got a cold! I don't do well without sleep! When I get sick cancelling my classes means loss of income! It means no classes for my clients who may really need it! How that may affect their moods and my mood can be insurmountable! Ripple, ripple, ripple. All from one man!

Yet on the flip side I was able to get to the funeral of a completely different man who touched so many lives in a positive way it blew mind! This man was a doctor, a reconstructive surgeon. A father of five and a grandfather. Amazing accolades on their own, yet he was so much more. I had the pleasure of getting to know him through his son who is a good friend to my husband. His door was always open! He welcomed you with open arms, literally! He spoke to you, saw you, and heard what you said. If he hadn't seen you in a couple of years he remembered who you were, what you did and the last time he saw you! He remembered my children and treated them like his own grandchildren. To their chagrin he made them think about things like what they were grateful for and what were their favourite things LOL! He gave them little moments with inspirational messages.

He was famous for picking up hitchhikers and bringing them home for a meal and a place to sleep. He used his medical knowledge to help locals near his cottage pro bono and then visited them later just to say hello! Needless to say the church was overflowing with people who wanted to say good bye to this incredible man who touched their hearts.

The ripple this man made was so positive few can compare. How many lives did he save? Physically and spiritually? How many of the people he touched changed something about their lives for the better? How did that help someone else?

How we behave to others has an effect whether we know it or not. When we smile at the mother in the grocery store whose having a bad day or shovel our neighbours driveway, we are creating a ripple. Make your ripple a good one! Be the change you want to see in the world! Let go of anger and fear. Embrace love and forgiveness! And dump a whack of beautiful grains of sand in the water!