Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I've heard it said that within two generations after a person is gone from the earth that it will be as if he was never there. This is a statement with which I completely disagree, though; I think people who think like that have not considered the rippling of a person's presence, the mark that is left behind forever by association on generations to come. If something about a person affects me in any way at all, there is a shift in my actions, in my perspective, in my words, or in some other area, and those around me are likely then to be impacted to some extent, which then affects others in their path in the future. That's how the rippling effect works; that's how our presence is maintained long after each of us is gone. This is something that has become very clear to me since my dad's death, and it is a truth in which I find comfort.
Once when I was in college, I heard someone make an off-hand comment about how it drove her crazy when my dad put a glass of water down on her coffee table without using a coaster. "It's like he doesn't even think about the water marks he's going to leave," she complained. I didn't really see her point at the time and I still don't; like my dad, I guess, it's never been something that I've thought was worth adding to my Worry List.
In fact, I noticed a water mark on a piece of furniture in my house just the other day and thought, "Damn, what I wouldn't give if I knew that mark had been left there by my dad."
I don't think my dad went through life thinking about the water marks that he was going to leave behind; he wasn't that self-centered or that existential in his philosophy. I wish he could know now, though, about at least some of the ripples he created; certainly his presence and the waves of his existence continue far beyond what he was able to see.