Have you ever felt like what you do isn’t all that significant?
Have you ever been in the middle of doing something and thought, “does it even matter that I do this?”
Have you ever just thought of someone you loved and wondered how your actions might impact his or her life?
If you have answered yes, then you have thought about “your little ripple”.
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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
-Saint “Mother” Teresa
I love this quote by Mother Teresa. I can picture throwing rocks in the creek growing up. Such a simple activity that many of us seemed unable to resist.
It’s easy to picture and there is just something about visualizing water that is peaceful.
There are many times when I have done something and thought,
“this is good, this will help someone.”
Those were times I was totally aware and consciously making a “ripple”.
But the other day, my youngest sister posted something on Facebook that got me thinking of how often we make ripples, even when we are not aware of it.
Each and every one of us makes a little ripple simply by being.
My sister’s words reminded me of this truth.
My son just turned 5. He doesn’t think about how his actions are impacting the lives of others. He thinks about how he loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch, watching tv, getting visits by family members and playing with his mom and dad. He loves people. He truly loves them in a way I imagine God loves us. He sees the beauty and awesomeness in everyone who takes time to know him. He doesn’t think about their weaknesses. He just thinks about whether or not you will let him play with your cell phone.
Something about his innocence or him being him impacted my sister in a big way.
I may or may not hear from her exactly how.
But ironically, when I was her age, she was the little 4-year-old whose simple existence helped me steer thoughts of suicide away.
I remember thinking . . . “if I went through with it, how would that act impact her?”
I knew that act would make a ripple; and it was her I was most worried about in my depression. I was able to get out of my self-pity by thinking of her. Because she existed, those thoughts didn’t linger long.
Our existence creates a ripple. Sometimes we are very aware of our ripple. Other times, we may never know how our little ripple effected the life of another.
Sometimes, we tend to think our actions are so small, mundane or unimportant that they don’t matter.
My sister Veronica really got me thinking about the ripples we make when we are not trying to make them.
And not just when we are cute little 4-year-olds.
Our little ripple continues to travel and grows in size.
Sure, there are times we think about our ripple.
When we make a donation, go on a mission trip, help an old lady walk across the street, buy the next person in line his or her coffee, do our job with diligence, follow traffic laws . . . the list could go on and on.
But even in the mundane, our little ripple is so important in God’s plan.
Every choice we make matters.
Every act done, whether it is done out of obedience to God’s will, love of neighbor, or if it is done out of hatred or apathy – matters.
When I reluctantly embraced the talent God gave me in high school, I thought it was useless. I envied the people who had talents that clearly helped others. My silly talent of being able to run long distances, in my mind, didn’t help anyone. Years later, I learned how wrong I was. Although my younger brother wasn’t there with me when I was running those hills in college . . . he had been watching me from afar, and it impacted him in a big way. ( I wrote more about this here: My Stupid Talent Was a Great Blessing)
When a writer or blogger feels like they are talking and no one is listening . . . believe me, someone is listening. People are listening. Don’t believe me? Ask Ginny over at Not So Formulaic . . .
When we live our faith in a way that helps us make major decisions, co-workers and neighbors are watching.
The same is true for when we hold grudges, or treat people the way we think they deserve to be treated, rather than acting out of love; we are still making that ripple.
The student who chooses not to cheat, works hard in class and goes home and does his or her homework with effort on a consistent basis, is creating a ripple and making an impact.
The athlete who is always complaining at practice is also making an impact.
The employee who goes above and beyond his duty at work and the worker who does the bare minimum, both of those acts are impacted others whether we see it or not.
I’m feeling compelled to remind you . . .
You are significant!
Next time you are in the middle of doing something and the question of whether or not it even matters pops in your head – the answer is YES! It totally matters!
All of us our impacting the world and people around us!
Just because someone else might be making a big splash, that doesn’t mean their ripple is more important than yours.
One person’s ripple is the same size as another’s.
Were you reading my mind today?
Haha – I think we all wonder sometimes!!!
Love this! There are a lot of people who need to hear this!
Thank you so much Elizabeth – it definitely feels good hearing that!
Adrienne Thorne says
What a great reminder this is! It’s funny, I’m a screenwriter so I constantly think in terms of the cause and effect of events whenever I plan stories, but much less so in my own life! Thanks for sharing this!
Can I tell you how cool I think it is that you are a screenwriter! That’s awesome!
Such a great reminder!
Thank you for sharing your insight, and your past struggle – and, how your ripple would impact your little sister ag such a tender age. One of the “safety factors” clinicians take into account when we assess for suicidality is family – does the person have a spouse and children. Because family, often times, is a “safety factor.”
So, thank you for sharing!!
Wow, I never heard of the “safety factor” thing before. Honestly, I was pretty deep – the fact that she was so young and innocent was a big gift to me. It’s not like I didn’t love my other family members . . . it amazes me how depression can really darken a person’s thoughts and hide the light of truth!
Every moment matters! Thanks for the reminder today, Amy. It is important to remember and to do our best. Have good intentions and give the rest to God.
Kirby Hoberg says
What I have always found amazing is it is ALWAYS the stuff I thought did not matter at the time. You just never know what might happen from just reaching out and living your life as best as you can!
It’s such a gift to be able to see those things in retrospect! I agree – all the stuff matters, even if we don’t think it will!
Thank you for this ripple! 😉 there are times that I am the conduit for relaying information or much needed words of encouragement. Even in my career as a bank manager, my credit union’s vision statement is to serve our members with a servant’s heart.
Kieu, I love how you thank me for this ripple – gave me a huge smile! See – now that was your ripple – thank you!!!!!
Great good for thought, Amy!! I’ll have to think more about how I impact other people.
Beautiful post. You never know how you are touching someone else.
Thank you LaNeshe!
I think it’s easier to think about how other’s ripples affect us than the other way around. This post is a gift to anyone who worries that they don’t matter.
Thank you Leslie!
Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers says
What a great post! I think it’s important for all of us to step back sometimes and remind ourselves that we are enough; that we do make ripples just by being ourselves. 🙂
Amen to that!
So true!!!!! And worded beautifully !!!!!!
Thank you Dee!!!