Ripples

Reflections and ripples in Douthat Lake last fall.


Ripples spread in concentric circles from something tiny disturbing the water. I lean over the splintery railing on the stairway over Douthat Lake, Shadow straining at the leash. She wants to sniff the reeds where the pit bull who passed before us a few minutes ago peed, but I want to watch the ripples. The blue depths swirl, circles of light and shadow. It's a skimmer bug, gently tapping the surface tension of the water with tiny feet. As I watch, the ripples spread until they touch the shore.

Life sometimes feels like ocean waves are crashing over us, but often life is a series of ripples, tiny circles spreading from our smallest actions. I have an online friend I will call B.  B and I are both writers, and I've gotten to know him through the magic of social media. Last week, I realized that B's posts had changed; the tone was different. Quieter, milder. More thoughtful. Religious. More "we" - about his wife A and himself, rather than just himself, or just business.

And then I skimmed back a while on his posts, and realized the ripple I had missed. He was in the process of conversion to the Catholic faith, and he was being welcomed into the church through the sacraments, tonight, at the Easter Vigil, along with his family.

I dropped him an email of congratulations, and he responded. "Thank you," he said, "Many times things you have said in your posts stayed with me."

Ripples.

I'm not good at explaining the faith to people. Eight years of Catholic grammar school, a very rigorous Catholic upbringing, and Catholic college still have me muddled.

But I can make ripples.

Ripples are soft and subtle. They can be created from the tiniest actions. A kind word, a simple action. A word said at the right time and place. Wearing a beautiful, feminine outfit. Taking time to speak softly and patiently to an elderly person. Being unafraid to make the sign of the cross before praying a blessing over your meal at Ruby Tuesday's or even McDonald's despite the gawking all around you.

This Holy Saturday, I think of the ripples created in Jerusalem 2,014 years ago.  Mary was a big ripple in the stream of time with her fiat, her yes to the Lord. Jesus was a ripple too, a ripple that turned into a wave that is still traveling towards the shores of time.

I am a ripple, a pebble, a skimmer bug stepping over the still waters of a lake. My ripples travel to the shore, but the effect they make, I cannot see. It is enough to trust the process that ripples do reach the shore, and are seen by those who need to see them.

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