Ripples from Sandy Hook Elementary

There will always be good in this world. There will always be bad. It is life. It is a balance. And when something happens to disrupt that balance it is up to us to do something to correct it.  You cannot go back and erase what has happened,but you can go forward, learn from it and cause ripples of your own.~J.V. Manning
I am standing on the shore of a nearby lake. Its early morning, the sun is just rising over the treetops. There is no wind and no noise. It is perfect stillness. The lake is like a silver mirror. When I look out at this smooth flawless body of water I am reminded of peace. How every day begins like this. Calm. Serene. That first moment when you open your eyes from sleep. Those precious few moments when you blink the slumber from your eyes and have yet to have a thought.  For that brief moment everything is in perfect balance.  Standing at the shore I pick up a pebble and softly lob it into the water. Immediate circles ripple out from where it hits and sinks. Ripple after ripple. I bend to pick up a larger stone. Using more strength I throw the stone into the  once again calm water. It hits with a splash! Bigger ripples circle out and out. Again I bend to pick up another stone.
This one by far bigger. I heave it with all my might into the mirrored surface of the lake. Splash! Ripple after ripple as far as I can see radiate outwards.  It is in this moment when I realize, from the smallest pebble to the biggest stone, each broke the calm and sent ripples out into the lake. Like the smallest action can send ripples into  the world. Everything we do has consequence. Everything we do, everything we say, everything we feel; sends ripples out. To our family, to our friends and coworkers. To strangers that do not even know our name.  

Do you believe that there is good in this world? I do. I also know that if I am to believe in the good, I must also believe that there is bad. I have seen both. I have experienced both. I know that this is true. I know each causes ripples when it occurs.  I have seen one good deed lead to another. I have seen what one person can do when reaching out, helping or just listening to some one in need. Then seeing that person go on and reach out to others. So on and so forth. Ripples of good spreading out into the world. Each starting with one.  I have also seen the other side of life. How one evil act can affect not only the one it was directed at but also cast out and touch others as well. I have seen evil that not only destroy the victim, but the victims families, friends, and communities, as well. One act of evil with it seems infinite reach out into the world. 


Perpetuating good deeds and good actions are easy. But standing up in the face of bad, in the face of evil and breaking the rippled circle as it spirals out is so much harder. When I was at the lake, directly after I threw the biggest stone. I noticed that at about 20 rippled circles out from the center, close to the shore, there was a branch sticking straight up out of the water. It broke the ripple. By standing firm. But having its roots in the ground. It forced a break. So it is in life. When evil happens. When something so awful so horrific happens that the effects of it are felt across the community, the state and the nation. We must break that ripple of fear. We must break it and respond with love and support. But most of all- with strength. 


On Friday a horrific act of evil happened in Newtown, Connecticut. A lone man planned and plotted an attack on innocents. The effect was immediate and far reaching. For that community and for the nation that surrounds it.  The need to blame someone and the need for answers and the rally calls that schools are no longer safe. The ensuing panic that erupted. The ripples out from Newtown were swift, they were harsh and they incited fear.  One man and his evil act was the catalyst that caused this. There will never be the answer that explains it all. Motive or no, it happened. Now we must all be like that branch in the water. We must stand firm. We must brace ourselves and break the ripple of fear. One man acting alone does not make every school unsafe. We must break the ripple and we must create one of our own. The smallest gesture can sometimes have the biggest effect. 

Do something. 

I created a small picture with a candle on Friday afternoon. It simply said "Prayers for for the children, staff and families at the Sandy Hook Elementary School". I live in Maine hundreds of miles away. But I needed to do something for those people. I put it up on my Random Thoughts Fan page on Facebook.  The candle has been shared over 260,000 times. When I look at the lists of people who shared it, a lot had also included a message that rippled out to their friends; their friends shared it and added their own. So forth and so on. One little gesture sent all those thoughts out to the world. I was stunned. What that one little candle did was break that evil ripple. Broke it and in turn sent positive healing ripples out of its own.


Do not let the evil of one man's actions ripple out. Do not let it cause you to question your beliefs, your Gods or the good in this world. Do not let it cause fear. Break that ripple. Stand firm. Do something good, something random no matter how small. That act alone will cause a break. That random act will spur on another and another sending good ripples into the world. 

There will always be good in this world. There will always be bad. It is life. It is a balance. And when something happens to disrupt that balance it is up to us to do something to correct it.  You cannot go back and erase what has happened, but you can go forward, learn from it and cause ripples of your own.

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