It is often nearly impossible to predict the impact of our lives upon others.
Certainly there are times when we can see the direct effect an action or even of inaction but this seems to be rare. Sure, some things are easily correlated, a smile in return for a hello, a thank you exchanged with a client for a job well done or allowing someone to get in front of you in line that seems to be in a rush. There’s a certain way that the energy of life flows, like a stream. Constantly we are putting things into and yet we have no idea what will happen down stream. What I do know is that whatever we do, it matters.
If we continue to look at life as a stream we have very real life example of how corporations have dammed up rivers and ruined local eco systems. Certainly even the dim witted and aptly named Captain Obvious can see the reality of that metaphor. The plants and refineries that pollute waters that kids once played in and drank from. Sometimes it’s what we take out of the river that matters. Sometimes I think of those nature films where you see tiny aspects of nature and follow them through the forest. A leaf that has fallen off a tree and flows with the current downstream, a bear cub and it’s discovery of small insects or honey dripping down a tree.
Our world works in very much the same way. Are we polluting the world around us through gossip, jealousy resentment, hate, avarice, or slander? Do we ignore each other while driving in traffic, purposefully speeding up so others cannot merge in front of us? Are we so caught up in our lives that we cannot stop and hold the door for someone? Are we taking the time to be kind to each other? Down the stream you just don’t know how much holding the door for someone matters. A person who has felt kicked around all day, battered by each person whose past they’ve crossed and irritated that nothing seems to be going right. Then in a moment of simple kindness you hold the elevator door for them because you happened to see them coming. They may not even be able to acknowledge it in the moment but your kindness may be just the gap in the avalanche they need to take a breath and see their way through to peace. You taking the time to let someone merge in front of you may be just the space needed to take the edge off of someone trying to hold it together as they drive to doctors appointment that has been stressing them out.
Today, be the difference. It doesn’t take much. A kind word, gesture or even thought may make all the difference downstream. Your hello, thank you or compliment on their work isn’t so they can respond in kind. You’re balancing out our eco system by breathing kindness, gratitude, grace, joy and peace into it. For all that we might see on the newscasts and our social media timelines, we are able through our presence to make a very real difference by how we show up. Today, extend a bouquet of thank yous, a bushel of sincere acknowledgements and remember to hold the door; it matters.