It’s funny how many of us are blind to the effects of our actions on others, whether positive or negative. By nature, we are driven by self-preservation most of the time so when someone does a selfless act they stand out as extraordinary. I believe we were created to serve others but sadly our human nature fights against that and wins often.
During my Christmas break, I had a good visual of our actions and how far they can go even without us being aware. This was reinforced by feedback from two pals that pleasantly surprised me. Thanks to my baby sharks, I went down memory lane when we went to the coral reef using a glass bottom boat in the Indian Ocean.
My two pals mentioned above commented on the Engage 14 talk I did in September 2017. They resonated with it and said that it has helped them maneuver their personal transitions. We hopped our dark, tinted bodies into the boat from the beach thanks to the kali sun and chlorine and took off with our guide. A big body of water always makes me shut up and take in the wonder that is creation. I believe doctors should prescribe a trip to the sea for patients suffering from stress and other related illnesses.
The hum of the boat engine at the back was like a lullaby to my smallest baby shark. I found myself fixated on the white foamy seawater that the rotating blades produced as they pushed the boat forward. As I looked up, I saw the ripples being formed and spreading wider as we left them behind. They reduced and eventually disappeared when the boat stopped. We had arrived at the coral reef and the sight was breathtaking. All the colors of the rainbow were represented in the fish below and it was a marvelous sight. Beauty without comparison.
I immediately missed the aquarium I had when I was in high school. Seeing the fish through the glass floor feeding on the bread we were throwing at them in a frenzy was cool. My older baby shark and I got into the water (with me firmly secured to a floater tied to the boat with a rope) and enjoyed the warm blue water. The fish tickled us as we fed them bread though some big red snappers spooked us with their angry-looking faces and menacing teeth. It was as if they knew we had their cousins for dinner the previous night and this was their opportunity to revenge. After about an hour we settled back in the boat and started our journey back.
Once again, the waves turned into white ripples as the boat gained speed, and that got me thinking about how actions go a long way in the lives of people we interact with. In fact, many of our deeds will outlive us. I felt this sense of responsibility and fear come over me. Responsibility because what I do today may have an impact on people I may never know or meet in my lifetime. I therefore have to think twice before I act or speak. Fear and remorse because I may have done or said stuff in the past that hurt others without being aware of it. For the times I remembered being selfish I was remorseful and decided to be more considerate this year.
The moving boat signified a life that’s moving in the right direction.
Folks, if we are keen to develop ourselves with new skills and positive habits then we are not only moving in the right direction but leaving behind positive ripples.
This will benefit many and leave the world a better place. On the other hand, if all we do is aimed at benefiting self only then that would be a very shallow existence. I’m all for self-development but I believe it’s time we interacted with life in a way that we do something that outlives us. I’m glad that is a requirement for a meaningful second half.
Corruption is a classic example of living for self only. Guys expending all their energy on amassing stuff for themselves as if they will live for the next 500 years. The ripples they leave are there for all to see. Court cases, family feuds over property and the curses that seem to follow their children. Malipo ni hapa hapa tu as the popular Swahili saying goes. I like how Raphael Tuju challenged politicians bickering at his brother’s funeral recently. How sure are they that they will live to see 2022 and the way they are harping on about it?
I pray that we shall all endeavor to create and leave behind only positive ripples so that the blessings they produce can be enjoyed by generations to come long after we are gone. I came across a quote that sums this ripples story well. ‘If your absence is not felt, then your presence wasn’t necessary.’