Flying eye-level to thunderheads and over a seemingly calm, sky blue ocean, I was reminded today of our impact — on situations, on the world and on each other.
From the ground, the air feels humid. Still. Stuffy. Only when we’re above the clouds do we see how much of an impact they really can have. Fuzzy streaks in the sky tell of torrential downpour and related flash flooding plaguing the news. Other planes are no doubt flying around them, cautious and with safety top of mind.
The ocean appears glass-like, but my eyes deceive me. Just when I’m sure I’m staring at a peaceful expanse of water, I can make out the choppiness and ripples of waves. Lots of waves. At first, it mirrored the sky. Upon closer inspection, it was deceiving me.
We think we appear one way, but in reality every action or word has the potential to be bigger than we intended, to spread beyond the walls we hoped they’d stay within, or to affect others when we didn’t mean for them to be seen or heard by anyone else.
One may argue that more people should be less nosy, that skin should be thicker or that we should hold tight to our serenity while letting go of all that doesn’t build us up. I agree with all these, but rooted in reality they are not.
There will forever be people who seek the thunderheads and the waves, and who will never be content to simply observe their effects and guide others away from them. They have a hand in all that is tumultuous, and we may not see it at first. But when we’re either bitten by them or sucked into their games, we’ll know it in a heartbeat. We can stay or go, contribute or quell.
At the end of the day, our choice says much about our character. Steer clear or engage? Avoid or ignite? Speak up with kindness or lash out with rage? For the lesson of the thunderheads and the waves, I am thankful.