When I was growing up way back when, my family lived on a river out in the country. Rafts, some swimming before the river became too polluted, tree forts hung in the Weeping Willows. Big yard where we'd play baseball or football or hide and go seek. Climbing trees, especially the Green Apple Tree that served our imaginations as a fort, a plane, or for just sitting and thinking. You get the picture. As kids when we'd run out of things to do, we'd throw stones in the river to see who could throw the farthest and make the biggest splash. Depending upon the size of the stone, the ripples would expand until they hit the shore line. One after another they came lasting for several minutes. Some ripples bigger, some smaller. It didn't matter the size really, because the ripples would travel in circles until the momentum would end and the river would calm itself once again until another stone was tossed.
Sometimes I wonder about the stones we throw and the ripples we cause because of those stones. Are they stones of love and caring and concern? A smile of encouragement, a gentle pat on the shoulder, a kind word or two, maybe a note to say "well done" or "keep up the good work" or "I noticed . . ."? Or are they stones cast in anger or indifference, perhaps abruptness causing completely different ripples? And because ripples travel seemingly for a great distance, who knows what happens when those ripples hit "shore".
Perhaps in this season of giving, of caring, of compassion, all of us can examine the stones we throw and what kinds of ripples those stones make.
Live your life and make a difference.