The Ripple Effect
It was six years ago that God called me to an exciting journey – that of becoming a Writer. It has been a thrilling ride. I’ve found much fulfillment and joy in writing. Picture a graceful swan moving serenely across a sparkling blue lake on a beautiful summers day. Or a bouncy dog running happily along a beach, exhuberant and alive! That’s what writing does to me. Aliveness. Contentment. Joy. A rosy glow within.
Soon however, I discovered a different aspect of the writer’s life. A rather alarming one. I found I needed to learn to speak in public as part of my repertoire. A very daunting task for someone as shy as me! What could I do? There was of course only one course open. I had no choice but to say ‘Yes’ to God as He brought several speaking opportunities onto my horizon. Gradually, I began to look on speaking too as an exciting aspect of a writer’s life! I even began to enjoy myself.
Two night’s ago, I spent an invigorating evening with a lovely group of women at a church not far from home. Debbie – my contact there and her team conduct 5 ‘Ladies Nights’ each year and do a great job of it. About 80 – 120 women attend usually. I could well appreciate that a lot of thought and care, planning and preparation are fed into this excellent women’s ministry. I was blessed to be be included.
It was a night that warmed me. The organisation was excellent; the ladies welcoming. I loved being there. The audience was very receptive to what I shared. It was a night to remember. In the course of chatting to a number of ladies I heard something interesting from one of them. She told me that a friend of hers, Liz, from the another Baptist church in Adelaide had gifted her with a copy of my book. I pricked up my ears. Oh?
Sandra had in turn lent my book to Debbie. Debbie who’d liked it was one of the organisers of the Ladies’ Nights. Debbie knew my friend Lorraine. And that was how Debbie was able to contact me. I was privileged to meet Debbie last year – a friendly, caring lady with a heart for God’s kingdom. She invited me to their Ladies' Night as a speaker. I was happily surprised how a single incident could cause a ripple effect leading to other exciting events in our lives. As I reflected on it, I knew that it was the kindness of two friends which led to my evening at the Ladies Night last Friday.
One was my friend Lorraine; the other my ex Pastor Jeff. When my first book was published in 2010, I’d received 300 books as payment from my publisher. I shipped the books to Australia. I gifted about 100 copies and sold the rest. I first sold them at my own church – the Golden Grove Baptist church where I promptly sold 52 copies. Magnificent!
“Where could I sell them next?” I wondered. An idea popped into my mind. I asked my ex Pastor Jeff if I could sell them at his church. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful when he said ‘Yes’. My friend Lorraine was gracious enough to drive me all the way there – and helped me sell my books. In fact, we enjoyed a beautiful day out together. ‘Two are better than one’ as the Bible says – and her being there made all the difference.
And so, it was the kindness of both Jeff and Lorraine that made my recent speaking event possible. If I’d not gone to to Jeff’s church (where incidentally – I sold 26 books) – I would not have sold copies of my book to Liz. And Liz would not have gifted one to Sandra. And Sandra would not have lent her copy to Debbie. And Debbie would not have read my book. Which meant I would not have received the invitation. See what I mean?
Often a single event can trigger off a series of serendipitious happenings. As this one did. As I thanked God for the kindness of two friends – who helped a new Writer in more ways than one – I also pondered over the cheerful ripples that kindness always sends out. Toss a stone into a river and watch a ripple start. Toss a few words or deeds of kindness into the world and watch what happens.
There are many ways of being kind aren’t there? Sometimes it’s just by listening to someone one who needs a listening ear. At other times it’s by stepping out of my comfort zone to bless another. There are times when saying ‘Yes’ to a request is being kind. There are other times when saying ‘No’ is a better way of showing kindness. Sometimes kindness doesn’t cost me much. Sometimes it costs me a great deal; my time, my energy; my resources. But what joy for both me and its recipient. Kindness may be something as small as a hug or a smile. It can be as large as a sacrificial gift of time and love. As Mother Theresa pointed out, kind words are often easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
I think this world could do with more kindness, don’t you?
O Father God, teach me to be kind.