Throwing Pebbles, Making Waves

Meditations in Motion

I will never forget that Thanksgiving.

One of my grandsons came home from pre-school with a nasty stomach bug a week before Thanksgiving break. It quickly spread to his older brother and his parents, my son and daughter-in-law. “Oh, poor them!” I thought.

Before long, my daughter-in-law’s family began showing symptoms of the horrible bug. First her mom and dad, then her brother, uncle, cousins, and grandma. “Oh, poor them!” I thought.

Of course, our family was next. First, the son visiting from Oregon (but, oddly, not his wife), then my husband, and finally, two days before Thanksgiving, me. “Oh, poor us!” I thought.

We got together that Thanksgiving Day at my daughter-in-law’s parents’ house, hollow-eyed and wan. I thought no one could possibly eat Thanksgiving dinner after what we had been through, but we did, gingerly and with much hesitation.

We nibbled at the turkey, tentatively ate some bland mashed potatoes, looked at the vegetables without much interest, and waited until the following day for dessert.

The illness started with the smallest one in our group, then spread like wildfire. It was amazing, I thought, the way ripples unfurled in ever-widening circles, enveloping more and more people in our own little epidemic. Similar to a pebble tossed in a pond.

My grandson, of course, did not throw the pebble. It was cast by fate and the virus. He was blameless for his role in the whole affair.

I believe; however, we sometimes fling pebbles that set off an unintended set of ripples. Those ripples are difficult, if not impossible, to stop or reverse.

When we speak harshly to a child, whether it is out of frustration, tiredness, stress, or anger, we toss a pebble.

When we mistreat a loyal and trusting pet who has no recourse but to cower, we toss a pebble.

When we ignore a friend’s request for help, leave a poor tip for a server, cut another driver off in traffic, lie to make ourselves look good – pebble, pebble, pebble, pebble.

I fear some in our country have lately been hurling stones of hate, divisiveness, and violence. They are initiating ripples that, once unloosed, cannot easily be called back.

We need reminders to lob the correct kinds of pebbles. When we send out pebbles of love and compassion, the resulting ripples soothe rather than agitate.

When we return an unkind word with a tender rejoinder, we toss a pebble.

When we express our gratitude, we toss a pebble.

When we laugh at a friend’s joke, lend a sympathetic ear, make eye contact and greet people with a smile, hold the door for a stranger, say “I’m sorry” when necessary – and mean it, we toss pebbles. When we accept responsibility for our actions, clean up our own mess, arrive promptly when meeting others, and generously offer our help to those who need it, we are launching pebbles that cause ripples of acceptance, kindness, generosity.

We don’t have to make a huge, grand gesture. Big gestures are sometimes more about the giver than the receiver anyway. Waiting for the opportunity to make a colossal effort sometimes blinds us to the small achievements we can make every day.

We make a difference in the world the same way we build God’s Kingdom – brick by brick, one after another. With consistent but significant slight endeavors.

One pebble at a time.

Let us all be mindful of the pebbles we hurl out into the world.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
 – Galatians 6:7

 

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98 comments

  1. Wow! So good, Laurie!

    “We make a difference in the world the same way we build God’s Kingdom – brick by brick, one after another. With consistent but significant slight endeavors.

    One pebble at a time.”

    I had never thought about it like that, but that is so true.

    Thank you for sharing! Praying that you have an awesome week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So love that analogy, and so true. Great reminder for the actions our pebbles create sometimes mindlessly. I like that word mindful. Maybe should choose that for my word of the year. Have safe and blessed week for you and family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another beautiful, insightful post, Laurie 😉 SO true…those innocent pebbles can do far more damage than anyone could imagine. While I have not “lost” any friends through the turmoil of the past year, there are many that I feel quite distanced from as a result of their hatred and rude discourse. If nothing else, the past year has opened my eyes to such pebbles, and has made me even more guarded with the ones I choose to throw. Great post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kim. I have had the same experience as you. I try to always return comments left on my blog and at times, I was just at a loss of words when I read some really hateful blog posts. Most of the posts I read, however, have been positive and encouraging. That’s why unsettling ones stand out so much in my mind.

      Like

  4. I never thought about it, but it is so true: “big gestures are sometimes more about the giver than the receiver“.
    Most of these small pebbles don’t even cost anything, not even time.
    Thank you, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic post, I often wonder when we do something kind how far does it go & often we will never know, but it is fun thinking about it. Thankfully our family has never had that chuck bug, all our other friends have but we must have a anti bug gene. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie I love that idea of a pebble spreading soft waves, the reverberations. And you’re so right that people are quick to point the finger. I mean, other than purposely putting yourself at risk of something most people remain blameless. Victims themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Laurie – you’re so right about the positive effects of small actions (and the opposite with thoughtless acts). I’m so grateful to live in a country without the tumult that I’m seeing elsewhere, I’m grateful for the fact that we’ve had no community covid cases for months – we’re cruising along and every day I smile because life is good – choose your attitude, choose your actions, take responsibility, choose love, choose gratitude – it’s not hard really is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. little things can make a huge difference – over 20 years ago I saw a friend after some months apart and told her about a book I read on after death life experiences of folks who tried commit suicide and didn’t go to the light. She then told me she had been contemplating suicide but because of my words about how we are pebbles in a pond, she changed her mind. #MMBC

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As I read your words, Laurie, I thought of how calming and relaxing it is to stand still and skip stones across the top of the water. It is not the same thing as throwing them in the water to create the biggest splash 🙂 May my words skip over the souls of others creating a gentle ripple of God’s peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh I’m so sorry that nasty bug ruined Thanksgiving for you. I can remember times when we have all been struck down at the same time too, usually just as school holidays begin. You are so right with your pebbles analogy though, more the ripples we cause. A favourite author of mine always talked about ripples and how they continue long after we are gone. They are so important and we really should be mindful of each one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The ripple effect. Sadly, we’re living through the ripple effect big time these days. But God has already written the end of the story, and He can use us to create ripples that will spread His love and peace in directions we can’t even imagine.

    A wonderful post, Laurie. So full of hope and a right perspective …

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, Laurie, this makes me pause and reflect how we respond to one another just within the walls of my home. A parent’s frustration with a child–and then we get on that kid’s case for how he talks to his sister. Yes. The pebble! Be so mindful of which pebble I throw! Thank you for this–it is something I can so easily call up. Remember the pebble. Heck–carry one in my pocket. Just the kind of tool I need for my ‘knee-jerk reaction toolbox.’ Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is a powerful reminder of the intensity of words and actions. I see divisiveness destroying our country and I am crushed that it can easily grow to epic proportions if we let it.

    We make a difference in the world the same way we build God’s Kingdom – brick by brick, one after another. With consistent but significant slight endeavors. YES!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh I completely agree; I think social media and not saying so many of our thoughts face to face have allowed us as a society to become rather complacent about remembering simple kindnesses– which is why I really don’t use any of them anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I hope we can throw out pebbles of kindness more … after all we should remember we reap what we sow. Sorry your extended family had to come down with that bug and on a long holiday weekend gathering as important as Thanksgiving on top of it. You are right – it was not your grandson’s fault for spreading that bug. I recognize Bill in the picture – so you took the photo as I don’t see your smiling face?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so too, Linda. I was watching the inauguration today and I think our whole country is going to move in that direction because that is the way this president is taking us – away from divisiveness and hate. Oh, that bug was awful! We were all down and out. I am in the photo – in the front with the pink/purple dress.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just returned to the post and I don’t know how I missed you yesterday, but saw Bill – he is taller. 🙂 Sometimes at the end of the day, my eyes get a little blurry on this laptop. I watched highlights of the inauguration – I agree with you Laurie. So much class and so much hope for a better tomorrow and beyond and wiping away a lot of the old ideas and edits too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tonight I just got here – we had computer issues at work and we have a Zoom hearing Monday and exhibits have to be filed at the NLRB by tomorrow. The Windows 10 laptop that’s been sitting unused since June 2019 is a two inch bigger screen than this one … by the time the computer guy gets around to getting us fully set up on Windows 10, I’ll be using that laptop in retirement. It would be my preference it was a Mac as I know they are superior (I know you said you had one), but I cannot use a Mac to get into a Windows-based network, so I muddle along in Windows a while longer.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. You have certainly raised our awareness of the connections that may be small end up having subsequently large effects. Thank you. On a completely related note, we had a 10th Birthday party planned at home for our daughter and with people travelling across the city and her friends attending, we did not put it off when her younger brother began vomiting. Oh. My. That virus spread to all attendees over the next few days and I so learned a lesson there!

    We here in Australia are awaiting the new President’s inauguration and sending all the good wishes we can for a peaceful and helpful transition….and for proper and better COVID beating strategies to be found.

    Thank you for sharing your post in Life This Week, the Monday link up on my blog. Each Monday, there is an optional prompt but you can link up a post (just one) old or new, on or off prompt. Next week’s is 4/51 Cannot. 25 Jan.Hope to see you back here then. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, no! So sorry to hear about your family’s encounter with the dreaded stomach bug! It’s awful! I cried during Joe Biden’s inauguration. Happy tears! It feels so good to be hopeful about the direction of our country again. Thank you for hosting. Hope to see you next week!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Laurie, I’m saving this post. You wrote a beautiful story with such a vivid and poignant lesson. I like a song by The Isaac’s named “Rocks”. Thank you for this beautiful message. And, your family is beautiful! 💚❤️♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Laurie, I love this analogy of the pebbles. How often we fail to realize that every action and word good or bad sends out ripples, many far reaching. Thank you for the reminder to choose carefully that those ripples may accomplish good for the Kingdom and not tear down or hinder!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Such a thoughtful and lovely post Laurie. Kind, loving and positive pebbles are my favourite kind. I think things will start to improve in your country from this point on. Inclusiveness rather than divisiveness, compassion rather than hate, kindness rather than spite. They always win. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve not thought of them as pebbles, but I did realize early (being on the wrong end of many words) that words matter and should be thought out first, no matter our mood.

    Thank you for linking up at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I needed to read this today. Someone has thrown a pebble in one of the spaces I inhabit and and it has indeed created ripples. Causing a lot of people a great deal of anxiety. You’ve reminded me of how to handle it. Thanks!

    Sounds like a terrible virus. I hope you’re all fighting fit again now

    Liked by 1 person

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