I read recently that at the time of your death, you not only experience a life review but “that everyone whose life was ever affected by yours, directly or indirectly, whether you actually met them or not, gives a speech in your honor. And anyone whose life was affected because of someone whose life you affected, gives a speech. And so on and so on and so on…”
Rather than get excited when I read this, my head fell. My shoulders drooped. My heart sank and I wanted to cry. My thoughts didn’t go immediately to the people that I have helped – the beneficiaries of my good deeds, the receivers of my donations of time, energy or money.
No, my thoughts went to the young cashier at the store – the poor girl to whom I was needlessly rude. It wasn’t hard to imagine her going home and in turn being short-tempered with her family. I remembered all those who over the years have received the sting of my quick temper, the cut of my sharp tongue. My mind was flooded with hundreds of faceless victims who in the course of my life were infected by MY frustration – MY pain.
The ripple effect works with positive and negative states alike. Everything we do affects others – good or bad. I cannot go back and change what I did to others in the past. No, but I can forgive myself, let it go and vow to do differently now.
I felt kind of like Scrooge when wakes up after the visits by the three Spirits or the way James Stewart feels at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Both Scrooge and George Bailey are overjoyed to find they are alive. They are as giddy as school boys with the realization.
A new understanding is born of the power we hold to bless others’ lives with our smile, a compliment or compassion.
I vow to do my best from this time forward to leave in my wake a host of people who will remember the kind lady who made them feel good. To be the woman who brightened their spirit on a gloomy day. Who stood out from the others because instead of complaining, she complimented. Instead of frowning, she flashed a smile. Instead of bringing them down, she helped to lift them up.
Will you join me?
Let’s cover the earth with over-lapping ripples of love, random acts of kindness, compliments, compassion and warm fuzzies.