Ripple are interesting to look at. They start in the center and travel to the outside, ever expanding, one slow circle at a time. You can follow a ripple all the way to the end if you have the patience and the eyes for it. The ripple that happens after a while has traveled quite a bit, having become much larger than the first one, and affects a different area of the water by now.
Ripples are marvelous. They are the announcement that there is more. More to what I do on an everyday basis that what shows up at first. More to the pennies that I save today than just a few pennies saved. More to my smile than a simple exercise in facial gymnastic.
Ripples are a big responsibility.
What if my smile caused my husband to be in a good mood as he left the house and made him ready to respond to an employee’s mistake with a kind word? And what if his response to the employee’s mistake so overwhelmed the employee that he broke out in a song? And what if that song was heard by a customer who happened to be in the music industry? And what if he was so impressed with the voice he heard that he offered the employee a recording opportunity? And what if it turned out amazing, and they made millions with the sale of that particular recording? And what if the employee used parts of the proceeds to fund a well in Africa? And what if a little girl in Africa did not die because of it, and wound up adopted by a couple in Europe? And what if became the mother of the scientist who eradicates diabetes once and for all?
The ripple effect is truly at the foundation of the “paying it forward” concept.
I have seen the ripple effect at work in the forty-eight and many, many more months that I have been alive. Whether good or not, these effects were real, affecting life profoundly.
What if my grumpiness made my husband irritable that morning when he got to work? And what if his irritability caused him to lash out at the employee who made a mistake? And the employee got frustrated and quit his job? And he never found another job and wound up having to sell his house? What if the hard times drove his wife to suicide and his kids turned to drugs? What if one of his kids wound up on the streets? What if the owed lots of money for drugs and chose to pay his debt off by becoming a prostitute? What if he died?
No man is an island.
Your life affects mine, your choices affect my choices. I do make the choices for sure, but your choices wind up having a direct effect on my life. Whether good or bad. My own life turned out as it did as a result of a simple gift certificate from my daughter. Who would have thought?
Whether by choice or not, our lives have a ripple effect on others. It’s a simple as that. The question that remains is this one: what kind of ripple effect will you have on those around you?
Can you think of one act of kindness that truly had a ripple effect?