Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Ripple Effect

The beaches of Southern California have been under the siege of a large winter storm which originated around the island of Tahiti.  Normally, Tahiti is not a place that is on my radar.  When I think about it, I visualize a very far off land surrounded by ocean and lined with white-sandy beaches that are mostly desolate.  But for the past couple of days, Tahiti has been reminding me of the ripple effect which often has broad-reaching implications on our lives.  Implications which we experience, but don't really consider past the first few rings that expand beyond our usual surroundings.  Most of us are familiar with how the ripple effect works.  You drop a rock into a body of water, and the initial ripple then fans outward causing a tiny circle within a larger circle, within a larger circle, within a larger circle, within an even larger circle.  A massive storm that is happening someplace over a far off land in the middle of the Pacific ocean, is now rippling into the waters off of Southern California causing the largest waves this coast has seen in years.  The results have been bigger waves and stronger currents.  Dangerous conditions for all but the most experienced surfers as they clamper down to the water to catch the most challenging waves.
We have also experienced a heat wave combined with extreme humidity, something that Southern California seldom has to put up with.  
There have also been larger crowds at the beaches due to both the heat and the unusual wave conditions.  More ripples crossing over the thousands of nautical miles spanning from Tahiti to California.
And yet, the weather and the powerful surf conditions are only a couple of the ways in which we have been impacted by the Tahitian storm.

Yesterday, as curious beach-goers walked leisurely out on the San Clemente Pier, the waves rose precariously close to the base of it.  People sitting on the edge of the pier found that the waves were actually rising up far enough to tickle their toes.  Shortly after that began happening, a huge beam was dislodged from the pier and went tumbling into the ocean.

It was at that point that the storm from Tahiti which was effecting Southern California began to ripple into even more lives as the pier was shut down until further notice.

Looking out at the vacant pier yesterday afternoon, I was struck by the force that a storm which is nowhere even close to the United States, could have on the lives of those so far away.
And I thought about the first raindrop that might have started all of this.  I thought about that raindrop falling gently into the ocean off of the coast of Tahiti and how the ripples began to circle out, each creating a larger circle.
We are like that.  We create an action, we say something kind or something crass to someone else, and the ripples begin to radiate outward, one at a time.  A single motion that can have an infinite effect.

And like my initial thought about the obscure island of Tahiti being very far from my own radar, we forget how each one of our own actions, however obscure or seemingly insignificant, can create an enormous ripple effect.  Every thought translating into a word.  Every action creating a reaction.  Every kindness reaching out in a way that we could never possibly begin to imagine. 

So I will go into the coming week, the week that my younger brother should have been turning forty-three, and I will think about Tahiti.  I will think about waves and words and kindnesses and, I will think about you.  Each comment, each friendship, each email of support is like the tiny rock which begins the ripple outward creating an effect that can never again be retrieved.  

Peaceful birthday, little brother.  Your life was like that.


Laura ~Peach~ said...

this is a lesson i have tried for ever to teach my kids... i have never quite heard/read it put this way but it is so perfect... thank you and your blessing of how you put words together
love and hugs

Sunshine said...

Deb .... you know never know with the weather and its hard to predict what will happen next.


Ness said...

Know that your brother is looking down on you and is so thankful that you are connected to his dear daughters. Feel your feelings as a birthday without him passes by. Know that my precious sea glass also went to Buffalo with me and it's the last thing I look at before going to bed. Take care and know how much you're thought of and loved by me.

i cant sew said...

your little 'ripple' just made me cry...and i am half way around the world...
i remember you from maria-therese blog, you sent her some .
sea glass:)
thank you for stopping by my blog and peace to you and your gorgeous family
%*_*% rosey

WV LeAnn said...

Deb, my brother-in-law died in a horrible car accident last Wednesday on his way to work leaving behind my wonderful niece 15, and a nephew 16 and one 20. Each child is reacting differently right now one crying all the time, one angry and taking it out on all of us, and one not speaking. I've thought of you through all that we've been dealing with and are experiencing and ask for your prayers as you stay in mine. WV LeAnn

Debra W said...


I swear I was thinking about you the last few days as I was walking past some seagulls on the beach. How strange to feel so connected to someone whom we have never even met. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

The children will go through so many different stages of grief, bless their hearts. Right now, everyone is in shock. Is there someone that they can talk to who might be able to counsel them? A clergy member would be best if they belong to a church.

My heart is absolutely aching for your family, LeAnn, as you embark on a journey that is extremely difficult. Being a year and a half out on that journey, I can tell you that the pain does lessen. I am not sad everyday, anymore. But it becomes something that you do learn to live with. And there is joy and peace even during the process.

Stay close to the children. I am holding you and your family very close in my prayers as you embark on this very difficult journey. Thank you for always holding me in your prayers. I am so, so sorry.

Please feel free to email me if you need to talk.

Big healing hugs,

jenX said...

Only 43. Life is so hard. Maybe he's making ripples in the ocean, Debbie, smoothing down the sea glass you love so much. YOu're in my thoughts and prayers as you head into this week.

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

Wishing you all the best and sending you hugs. Take good care.


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