A Drop That Carves a Canyon

We are often told multiple times a day what isn’t working, what has gone wrong, or how change is simply not possible. The weight of this less than encouraging news constantly pouring in can leave us feeling stuck in a sea of frustration and stress. In these moments when it seems we have lost our center and the currents of life are just too big for us to do anything about, we can feel the need to retreat, give up, or protect ourselves from the even more bad news that might come our way. Though pulling back may console us for a short time, it actually is what keeps us stuck. When the weight of what isn’t working seems to seep into our surroundings, what we need most is to engage with life, with each other and with our work.

But how can we possibly do this? How can we engage when what is flooding into our reality feels as dense and immovable as a mountain?

We can transform our current circumstances by having the courage to reach out and add our drop of contribution to the world.

 At first it seems improbable that our own small contribution, our drop of water, can create anything different than what currently is. Yet it is this drop of water that moves a ripple through a pond, a pond that spreads to a babbling brook, a babbling brook that turns into a mighty river, a mighty river that carves out a vast canyon in the immovable mountains of uncertainty.

A Pebble

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,

Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.

And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,

Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave

Till you wouldn’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

This poem by James W. Foley beautifully illustrates how adding our drop of contribution, even just a splash, creates ripples of impact far beyond what we can immediately see. When we settle for retreat and stay confined within the personal dramas of our life story, it is often because we don’t think our contribution is worth the effort. We tell ourselves, “What can I possibly do or give that could be of any benefit?” Yet the mighty river able to carve a path through the seemingly immovable mountain starts with a single drop – YOU. We must free ourselves from the self-imposed limitation that sees our world as unchangeable, our cultures as fixed, our frustration as permanent, our contribution as unimportant. We each must have the courage to engage, give of our passions and talents, and add our own drop to the mighty river of change, if only as an invitation for others to do the same. Remember, no one else can give your drop and what you have to contribute is more than enough.

Tell us your thoughts. When have you taken action to be a drop of contribution? What did you see happen? We want to hear your stories.

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