Looking for examples of the Spirit in our natural surroundings, we headed to the nearby rock ledge by Lane Cove River. What a beautiful sight awaited us! The recent rain was trickling in narrow, vertical streams from the edge of the overhang every few centimetres. Turning my attention from the beauty coming from above us, I noticed the effect upon the water below. Ripple patterns were everywhere – intersecting and forming ever-widening, complex patterns. Here was my illustration to share with our Sacred Space group – and blog readers!
There is a mystery about the Spirit – what it is, how it works, spreads and interacts with us. We have some clues from our experience: those mysterious moments where something speaks deep inside of us in an uncanny way. Or the way we feel so ‘connected’ with others at times. Or we just ‘know’ something and we can’t explain why. My mother wasn’t a religious person, but one night she knew there was something wrong with me while I was overseas. She was very worried, having no way to contact me. She asked on my return what happened that night. I had been very ill, amidst a new group in a foreign land. Her ‘mother instinct’ just knew her daughter was in trouble.
Ripples, like the Spirit, move outward in waves of power, interact with others to reshape, and change course. Their destination is a mystery, dependent upon what lies in their path. There is power there, capable of being harnessed, but it's mysterious too. The ripples don’t choose their interactions, but adapt as they happen.
Maybe we can learn from the adaptive behaviour of ripples? In our interactions with others, we can be open to being changed and adjusting our course to complement theirs. We can accept those with whom we are thrust together and make the best of it, acknowledging we both have a right to be there. We can choose to emanate a positive spirit, rippling warmth and kindness to those around us.
Even though our actions may be small, the ripple effect can magnify them to create extraordinary change. Who knows what effect your smile or affirmation really means to someone? As a Chaplain, I am often surprised how meaningful small acts of kindness can be in someone’s life. If we can uplift another, they in turn, will be encouraged to do likewise, creating ripples of inspiring change. Don’t underestimate your power to create the change you want to see in the world!
Small acts of decency ripple in ways we could never imagine. Cory Booker
The articles here were written by Peter Andrews on behalf of the Chaplaincy Team from beginning 2023.