Friday, May 2, 2008


It was late in the day --very late in the day. In fact, it was about 4:20 when the gentleman walked through the door. He hurriedly filled out some paperwork. I could have easily put it off until Monday as it didn't end up on my desk until 4:26 and we close at 4:30. However, I could tell from the conversation at the front desk that this wouldn't go over well and I thought I could take care of it in a few minutes.

While I was setting up the account, a coworker continued to converse with the man. He was not happy to learn that his account would only last 30 days. He was assured that it could be renewed with an email. He seemed to think this was a bigger deal than it actually was. I typically take care of these accounts every morning at 6:30 when I get in. It is the first thing I do. If a renewal email comes in during the day, I genuinely try to take care of it that day. But this didn't satisfy him.

Evidently, I was not the only one listening. When my coworker turned to me and the man pressed, I gave the same answer and a supervisor popped out of his office.

The man was not loud but he was persistent. He was not rude but he was tense. Perhaps it was the tenseness that made the ripple through the office. It was obvious that everyone was aware that there was a problem.

I had errands to run and places to be and disentangled myself as quickly as I could.

Tonight, I had a friend's children. We played a few games, ate brownies, and watched some TV. In the midst of that, a delicate question crept in. It took me by surprise, but I fielded it and let mom know the nature of it when she collected them. As we watched TV, I pondered that question -- not so much the content but the influence my answer might have. I care deeply about these kids and think that I am a positive influence in their lives.

I don't want to overstate it, but I hope that even in the mundane things like brownies and games and the occasional challenging question that I am having a ripple effect. Who knows how long or far away that ripple may be felt. Oh, no one may ever be able to point to a game night three or four times and many years removed, but I still think it may count.

Ray Boltz is a Christian singer. Though, I haven't heard his work in quite awhile. He use to have a song out about that ripple effect. Someone got to heaven and God revealed all the lives they had impacted that they had never known about. Person after person said, "I am a life that was changed . . . ."

I have to stop and wonder if my ripple is negative or positive . . . . I'm sure it is not (sadly) wholly one or the other. But I pray that it is more positive than negative and may God nudge me before I throw the negative (intentional or unintentional) stone in the pond of life.

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