I just saw the movie The Adjustment Bureau. (I’ve conveniently posted the trailer on here, if you should choose to watch it) Although not entirely theologically sound, it really got me thinking.
The idea of the movie is that this mysterious bureau changes and tweaks small things in people’s lives to make sure they stay on the plan the Chairman has set up for them. David (played by Matt Damon) gets let in on this secret, and as he begins doing things outside of the Chairman’s plan, it creates ripples that changes lives of the people around him.
Now, like I said, the movie isn’t theologically the most sound, with its idea of fate and doing things that change the Chairman’s ultimate plan. However, it had a lot of thoughtworthy things going on. The one that’s sticking in my mind currently is the ripple effect.
So often we go through our lives thinking only about ourselves. What I eat for breakfast, the clothes I wear, the music I listen to–these are all seemingly insignificant things that probably don’t have much grand significance. But what if they do? I may decide to wear a particular pair of shoes that don’t enable me to run fast enough to tell someone something of extreme importance. A quite unlikely situation, but one that has me pondering all the same.
Bigger choices make bigger ripples, and these are the ones that we can sometimes visibly see affecting others. The people we choose to surround ourselves with can impact our lives, and we theirs, in remarkably beautiful and terrible ways. I’ve seen and lived the effects firsthand. There are times when I’ve been unwise about who I let into my life, and I’ve dealt with consequences. At the same time, there are too many times to count that I was not who I needed to be or should’ve been, and those times have impacted the people around me as well. Not to dwell just on the bad stuff, there are people who have changed my life in ways I wouldn’t have imagined but cannot possibly thank them enough for. Whether I have done that for others is perhaps somewhat unknown, but I have hope that I’ve done at least some good in my 21 1/12 years of life.
So what could life look like if we thought about this more? If we took the time to consider how much our actions affect the lives of the people around us? As much as we may like to think we are, our lives are not islands, solitary things with no connection to the people around us. The choices we make have power to hurt and to heal, to bring hope and pain and laughter and sadness and every other thing imaginable.
What kind of ripples will you make?
Til next time…