Life’s Ripples–Make Any?

We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life

“What in the world is that?”

While working on the pond, we heard a thud. We stopped to follow the sound of something crashing down the hillside coming straight at us. We were unable to see anything, but could clearly hear its progress hitting trees, breaking branches, dislodging dirt and pebbles as it made its way down the hill.

The pond this summer has been a fun, hard work, rewarding project. It used to be a swampy hole, but with some great effort and planning, it’s now a spring-fed respite spot.  We know the woodland creatures love it because we see evidence of their nightly visits. It’s always fun on our morning walks to see if the raccoon, the deer, the beaver, and others have paid the pond a visit.

Earlier today, when I sat contemplating, the pond whispered wisdom to me. As the ripples rise and fall reaching to its limits, I’m reminded that life can often be that way—ebbing, flowing and wrinkled. Anyone who’s ever thrown a rock into a pond knows, the bigger the rock, the larger the ripples. Although I love the glassiness of the smooth still water reflecting the trees and flowers around it, it is the ripple that stirs the water in such a way that brings the little bugs to life bouncing up and down and providing food for the birds that monitor the pond. It’s like the undulation of the pond is necessary for everyone to be fed.

Over coffee one day, a friend and I discussed the value of making a ‘splash’ in life that sends its ripples into far reaching areas. We discussed our desires to be ‘big enough’ rocks in life that when we’re worthy to be thrown in, we could cause a large ripple. I walked away from our time together wondering where the ripples of my life have ended up and if I’m a big enough ‘rock’ that at the end of my life, I will have made beneficial ripples or will my life be represented by a smooth glassy surface—pretty but ineffective. Truth is, I’d like to be the biggest rock in the pond!

I’ve always wondered how the greats in life became great, effective influences in our world. It’s hard to imagine some of them as anything but great even though logic tells me they all started out in the same place as me.

We held our breath as the crashing sound appeared about to make its identity known. We watched as a rock no bigger than my fist hit the bottom of the hillside, rolled across the pathway and into the pond making a splash ten times bigger than its actual size should dictate. We were stunned that such a little thing could displace so much water making waves swell across the water’s surface.

How could something so small make such a sizeable impact? Without the benefit of size, the only answer to the splash question was—momentum! Although it was only a little rock, with little splash potential, it proved the entire hillside wrong when it hit the water. Momentum  and drive had outweighed size!

I wonder how many of us remain in our comfort zones, wishing one day to be a person that leaves a notable splash in the world? How many of us sabotage our own  success by attempting to remain ‘safe’? The little rock’s journey down the hill, it wasn’t all smooth. As it hit the trees and stumps, altering its path, it still gained momentum as it headed for the water. Had we not seen the little rock hit the water, the size of the ripple would have convinced us it had been a large rock.

Whatever it takes to knock me out of my ‘comfort spot’ and positively propel my thrust, I need to learn to embrace.  This little rock encouraged me, that I don’t have to be a huge rock to make a successful splash, I only have to focus on consistent momentum. And from my spot on the bench by the pond, I can remind myself that even the greats had to start from good before they passed on their ripples of wisdom on our lives.

For more stories like this check out: The Real Dirt on Being Happy! (Lessons from the Garden series)