Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Rippling Effect

As I discussed on Saturday, a member of our family -- Becca -- dies the previous day. For a family with so many animals, one might think that losing only 1 of 6 wouldn't have dramatic effects. But quite the opposite is true.

Becca was the leader of our pack. She was by far the most gregarious of the brood. She DEMANDED the most attention, both good and bad. She was always under foot -- if you were in a hurry, she was sure to be in your way!

When someone came to the front door, she was the first to greet them. Our other two dogs will bark up a storm and, if that doesn't work and a non-family members enters, both scurry for cover. But not Becca!! She would approach anybody as if to say, "Hi. How ya doing? I'm Becca. I like people. Pet me. Pet me. Pet me."

So, despite the fact our house is still filled with cats and dogs, it seems rather empty. The main vital spirit has gone. In time, we'll get used to this new energy and it will become the norm. For now, however, everything seems out of sorts.

In contemplating the last few days, I again recognized the mysterious ripple effects of life. Every action by each and every entity cause ripples that flow out into the world. Sometimes the ripples intersect and sometimes they clash. They form an invisible tapestry around us.

It is because of these trillions upon trillions of simultaneous ripples that we have no bona fide chance to truly comprehend this tapestry. The picture is far too broad and expansive for any of us to take in. So, we use terms like fate, chance or faith to define what we are unable rationally to define.

When something fortuitous happens to us, we say it was "the luck of the draw". When something bad happens to us, we say "the stars were aligned against us". We treat such things as random occurrences of chance.

I often find it interesting that when someone survives a tragedy that befell many others -- say a plane crash with only a few survivors -- we often hear that person exclaim, "God was watching out for me" or "an angel saved me." Whenever I hear such remarks, I always ask, "What about the others -- those who died. Why wasn't God watching out for them? What makes you think you're so special as to deserve this extraordinary treatment?"

In my humble opinion, it's not God or chance or fate that averts disaster or brings unexpected joy. It is something far more ordinary and pervasive -- the rippling effect.

If we had the ability to pull back to view the entirety of it all, we would be able to understand the ripples that led to the death of the man in Seat 4A and spared the life of the woman in Seat 4B.

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