I find myself getting on and off an emotional roller coaster. There is a wave rolling through life that is defined by the actions of the community I am a part of. Together we shape a wave defined by our actions, aspirations, and the emotions that ride the gap between action and aspiration. It is a dangerous wave – wonderfully high and depressingly low – shaping us in ways we do not often consider.
The wave reflects our collective journeys. Experience reminds me that individuals often touch others in unintended ways. My courage may give birth to courageous actions by someone I do not know well. My failures and weaknesses can cascade. In the context of the metaphor described, it is as if tsunami forces overtake and overwhelm the wave we are riding.
Hope, compassion, and care are beliefs that bind me to those close to me. I believe they define us; strong words describing the God we long to embrace. As I reflect on the challenge of reaching while struggling with shortcomings, I cling to three reminders.
Each weaknesses and failure in the community has an unintended consequence, mine as well as yours. In this regard my ongoing plea to a higher power echoes those before me; “Don’t let those who look to you in hope be discouraged by what happens to me, dear Lord! God of the armies! Don’t let those out looking for you come to a dead end by following me – please, dear God of Israel!” (Psalm 69.6)
Embracing the reality that we are weak and fail is a door and opportunity to reaching higher and farther. Life is never about yesterday or tomorrow. Life is about the moment you and I have. Will we seize it with everything we have? Will we accept the help of others to make everything, including our self, better?
In helping others, we are strengthened and helped. In letting others help us, we grow stronger and are able to make a greater difference.
Unintended consequences can be negative or a gateway to more; it’s our choice.