One of the goals of the trip was to simply have time to digest our busy summer together. Another was to see some of the sights that have been on our bucket list. On the way to Ontario, we stopped to see the campus of Notre Dame. I am guessing that this particular addition to my bucket list was placed there after I had seen the movie, Rudy. The campus looked so beautiful and I thought that it would be simply incredible to go for a run on it. So that went on my bucket list about 15 years ago. It did not disappoint! I loved it.
Another bucket list item was crossed off just a couple of days ago when Jim and I spent two nights on Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan. It is a small island that can be accessed by ferry. It is a ‘non-motorized vehicle’ island. Visitors to the island catch a walk-on ferry for the short trip from shore. Once on the island, walking, cycling and horse and buggy are the common means of transportation. The pace is slow and relaxing.
On the ferry trip over, as we sat on the deck, we were able to see the wake behind our boat, the Star Line. Looking out over the water, there were several other easily visible boats, each of them with its own wake. Some of the larger boats created big wakes. The smaller vessels had appropriately smaller wakes. I’ve been swimming in lakes when a motorboat speeds by and the wake it leaves just about topples everyone over. There are days when this can be fun; especially if you are a kid and enjoying the rough and tumble effect. There are other days when this wake can be frightening; especially if you are not expecting it. I have also sat in a canoe, like the cedar strip one made by my brother that we delivered to Greg and Cara, and have paddled across an early morning still lake, causing hardly a ripple. To me this is a moment of beauty. The fact that the wake is small does not in any way diminish its impact.
This got me thinking. I wonder what wake I leave behind when I leave a place. Each of us leaves a wake behind us as we travel through life. The wakes that we leave are not consistent; they change in size and power from day to day, from meeting to meeting and from interaction to interaction. Some people barge their way through life leaving people unsettled and rattled. Others arrive and leave full of energy, sharing their energy with those left behind. Others leave wakes that can be inspiring enough to cause people to create great change. Others paddle through casting a gentle light on beauty that is not often witnessed. Others maneuver carefully through life, noticing the effect they are having on others. And some use their energy to shine a light on other vessels, leaving the operators of those vessels to feel pride and confidence.
We’ve all been in a room, and had someone enter who instantly changes the atmosphere of the room. An angry co-worker, parent or child can have this effect. And when they leave, we have all been left shaking our heads in wonder at what just happened. We have also been in rooms where when a person left, we felt that we had somehow been made better by their presence.
We each get to choose the wake we leave. We can leave different kinds of wakes at different times. The trick is to be mindful of the kind of wake we are attempting to create, and then to figure out how to do it.
My inquiry for you this week is to ask yourself the question, ‘What wake am I leaving?’
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