Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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I was sitting recently on the end of a pier at a beautiful lake in northern Wisconsin. A quite large speed boat zoomed by and a little while later its noisy waves began slapping my contemplative shore. Then a canoe with two quiet paddlers slipped silently past and made no waves at all. A few days before I had visited some friends at another lake where, because of the high water from the recent rains, no wave-making boats were allowed. Besides making noise the waves can wash away banks and lake-edge lawns.We have the expression, "Don't make any waves," meaning don't cause any trouble. Those folks in the speedy boat were probably and prudently looking ahead to where they were going or to the side at what they were passing, but not behind at the effects of their actions. The persons in the canoe were not backward-glancing either. There is the expression, "Do what you're doing". "Keep centered" is a contemplative-enough idea as is "Keep your eye on the prize." There are people who "breeze" past us and make no impression except we know they do not want to meet us right now or ever.I am considering offering certain people in my circle of acquaintances a "Retrovisor". It would have several little mirrors or video thingys and would fit in such a way to allow a clear view ahead and behind as well. The advantages would be plentiful. They might become more aware of the kind of waves they were making, if any. Maybe they would find out that they live in a one-person canoe with a paddle having several holes. Progress is slow, effort is medium and effects are large. They might reflect then about if that's the way they desire to go through life.The speedier, big-wavers, would enjoy even more the noise they make and the motions they create. I have been surprised to find out the impact, influence, impressions, changes I have made, negatively and positively. Imagine, I have been told more than once, I frighten people! I am a tidal wave and I didn't even know it. I must have been in a No-Wave zone and just cruised right through. We just cannot always be aware of our passings.Most of us are familiar with the Daily Examen or at least some kind of reviewing our personal actions. This is very good. We can reflect as well upon how others influenced us, our feelings, attitudes and the spirit of the day. I wonder if there is a space for reflecting upon the day with an eye and ear toward how we brightened others days, how we made good waves, how we calmed them from our tranquil canoe. This kind of reflection would not be centered on improving our way of proceeding, which is too perfectionistic. I, myself, would wish to be more grateful for the gift God has given me to be, give away and be peaceful on my pier of life. We are all in one kind of boat or other and we do move around and we do have the grace to be a grace by making our kind of waves. I do not do the good I do just to be pleasing to myself or others. I would wish to do the good, because the good, the God-given good is within me and sometimes I speed and sometimes I drift and sometimes I just am. I do not do the good to be noticed by others, I would like to do the good and give God the thanks for the good I do with God's good gifts. It is just a glimpse, and I sure miss the pier and that lake.