Illustration by Eric Carle

Each school day morning, I zoom past a young crossing guard as she helps keep kids and cars apart. Without fail, she waves. We don’t know one another. I doubt she knows many of the people she greets. She is kind. She does not discriminate between return-wavers or non-wavers. She waves. And smiles.

It is kind of a big deal.

We live in tornado-land and each spring relearn the force small objects have when compelled by great power. The uncrumpled sheet of paper embedded in the hardwood of an oak tree, a windshield destroyed by pea-sized hail, and the shed flattened by unseen air remind us: small things with great force have great power.

And this is where life is like physics: force (f) = mass (m) x acceleration (a) or with enough speed/velocity a tiny action can have great influence in a given life.

Think about it. How often are our grand gestures over-shadowed by the sweet unplanned gifts of time, coffee, or a wilted bunch of dandelions in the right dusty hands?

What kindnesses do you recall from your week?

My guess is you’ve been on the receiving end of several small waves of kindness whether or not you noticed or acknowledged them. Perhaps, you fortunate friend, you’ve been gifted with a trip to Machu Picchu, a massage, or time splashing about Rocky Ford dam?

As tough and confusing and exasperating as life can be, we are covered by waves of thoughtfulness, patience, kindness, and gentle mirth in this short life. I know because I see/experience them.

A curly-haired pony-tailed college student who waves towards strangers while she guards tinys from speeders and distracted drivers is only one example.

But she is a powerful force in her kindness. She magnifies friendliness and is the difference – some mornings – between having a guppy of joy drop into my wading pool (small waves) and a big blue whale of woah! Oh boy!

So to all of the people of small untrumpeted kindnesses: thank you. You teach us well…without attempting to teach us at all. May we respond – sincerely – in kind and in this way create huge (bigly!) waves of thoughtfulness, community, and “us.”

It’s not hard; it takes one wave at a time.

+ + +

Bonus: Wouldn’t it be something if we could aggregate these small actions and build momentum as a community spread from the Pacific Northwest (looking at you DB) to sunny Florida and beyond (SA)! In physics, momentum = mass  x velocity. We invite enough people (mass) to accelerate their kindnesses (velocity) by a smidge (technical term), and we will benefit from an energizing movement of good-heartedness. With enough people, we can be crabby as needed and occasionally kind and still contribute to the cause…of community.

And yes…this is how my brain works. Physics smushed up with first wistful then purposeful observations of a short life. Sorry kids.


5 thoughts on “Waves

  1. Thanks GInger! It’s a girl in a ponytail waving at strangers, keeping warm, and keeping kiddos safe. She has no idea how powerful is her kindness. A lot like finally getting to know you and Kay…bit by bit. Much love.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s