Stones and life preservers both cause ripples


Have you ever experienced something so beautiful it made you cry? Could have been a simple act of kindness or seeing a loved one after a long separation. Or perhaps hearing voices sing so sweetly you think you have gone celestial.

This time of the year, there are many moments that bring the joyful tears to my eyes. Anytime I hear “Silent Night,” a choir hitting all the right notes in a Christmas program, and little children shyly talking to Santa Claus, I empty the tear bank.

I am no cream puff, and whether it is the season or just all the tears I held in the rest of the year need to get out before we welcome in the new one, I turn to gush in December.

So, when the little guys and I attended a Christmas celebration, I wasn’t shocked that the lump in my throat got heavier than a fruit cake. It was a good feeling. To cry at that kind of beauty. To witness something that moves me closer to heaven.

From my own experiences, when you open yourself up to beauty and let it all in, the door stays open and sometimes mean and evil sneak in behind catching you with your guard down.

That happened to me. I was personally attacked. Not for anything other than human error which I claimed as mine, but the attack went on and ruined all the beauty of the evening.

Those stones cast at me made as strong an impact as the beauty that opened me up to the wondrous season. Not as joyous but a significant splash nonetheless.

You will have an impact whether you throw stones or love. It’s your choice which ones you pick up.

My son had his six month check-up at Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City recently. We haven’t had the luxury of traveling with an endless budget since the tragedies that plague our lives joined us and stayed as a chronic guest. However, all four of my kids were going and we planned to make a Christmas celebration of it. Live it up a little.

Due to unexpected demands for money, we were lucky to get out there and back. On the way out of Salt Lake City, we stopped at a gas station to use $20 from my youngest son’s stash for gas. My oldest went in to prepay for the gas. It seemed like the new year passed before he came out.

When he got back into the vehicle, he had a strange look on his face.

“Something weird just happened to me,” and the smile was getting bigger with each word. “I asked the attendant to prepay for pump six and he handed me back the $20 and said someone paid $30 for us.”

That $30 did more than just help us get home on limited funds. It sparked a renewal of faith and hope in my oldest that he had lost after he hoped, along with the rest of my family, for something that never happened.

That person who “paid it forward” knows how to throw love and not stones.

Both make ripples in the water around our life. Both make the way not as smooth. But I would rather ride the waves of happiness than struggle through the after effects of pain and hurt being thrown.

A few years back, I read the book about the Pike Peak Fish Market in Seattle and how they “throw fish.” The employees laugh and smile and engage the customers in their rough ride through the ripples of joy in their market.

I know pain. I know it comes whether we like it or not. I know we can’t know joy until we know sorrow.

But if it’s alright with you, the kids and I will continue to make our way through the rough waters of joy and people paying it forward to us every day. And, if we can, avoid as many stones as possible.


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