Ripples and Consequences
by Cathleen E. Rossiter
Ripples. What immediately comes to mind when you hear that word? For most people, the classic image of a pebble being thrown into the water with the resulting peaceful waves emanating immediately from the circular imprint of the sunken stone is what the mind sees. For me, the word “ripples” brings immediately to mind the terrifying scene in Jurassic Park where the family is trapped inside the vehicles and Jeff Goldblum‘s character notices the rain water rippling inside the dinosaur’s footprint before hearing the steady, yet muted rumble of the dinosaur’s every step closer to its intended victims. This
is not exactly the ideal of Stress Managers everywhere.
One might be wondering why such a peaceful word as “ripples” would evoke such a terrifying image for me. The answer lies with the word ‘”consequences”. Consequences should be a terrifying presence in peoples’ lives, yet consequences are one of the things we think nothing about. In the Jurassic Park image, the ripples are caused by the Earth’s reverberation under the pounding of the gargantuan, predatory footstep. The terror enters in with the unspoken, yet fully understood consequences yet to be felt as a result of each footstep. Terror enters in with the potential consequences. The ripples are the reminder of the consequences.
Consequences are the essence of everything we do, or, say, or think. The consequences of picking up a pen might be minute, even imperceptible. The consequences of what is written with that pen could be beautiful; the consequences could also be devastating. Many consequences could be altered if only we would THINK about them beforehand. The movie that started me on the road to Art Life Connection is Sunshine Cleaning with Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Alan Arkin. What struck me most was how dramatically different each person’s life would be if any one person thought about their actions and the consequences to those around them. If Rose and Norah’s mother hadn’t committed suicide, the
girls would not have spent their lives acting out of the colossal “Why?” that hung over and between them. Consequently, their father would not have lived his life with the feeling that he failed his family; that his love wasn’t enough. The viewer is never made privy to the mother’s history, yet the ripples that pummeled the mother had dire consequences. Imagine the difference in all those lives if the mother’s incoming ripples were created from gentleness and
Even the recipients of Rose and Norah’s services beg the “Imagine if…” question. Norah’s good-hearted action regarding one of her clients, motivated out of her own pain (“What if this were Mom? I would want to know.”) create unexpected ripples and consequences. Ultimately, each character’s choice to make their circumstances better, allows them to make better the lives of those they touch – which is the only way to change the world – one consequential ripple at a time.