When I got my first boat I was living in a coastal Virginia community. I kept the boat in a rented slip on a small bay that ran behind the town. I used it primarily for fishing, and had to learn the “rules of the road” for safe boating. One of those had to do with controlling my boat’s wake. Every harbor has its “no wake” zone. Even a small runabout like I had can churn up a wake that can capsize other boats.
It occurs to me that we all leave a “wake” in our daily interactions with others. By the way we interact we may leave positive or negative feelings behind us. A large boat disregarding its wake when passing a smaller boat where people are fishing can interfere with their catch–or worse, capsize them. At the very least, it will cause feelings of anger or resentment. Respect for others in a no-wake zone or an area where a lot of small boats are fishing contributes the the enjoyment of all who are on the water.
I think of another “wake” experience. The place was Caliboque Sound in South Carolina. I was on a ferry crossing from Hilton Head Island to Daufuskie Island. Seeing some excitement among passengers on the stern deck, I went back to see what was happening. It was exciting. There were dolphins playing in the wake of the boat. They would swim in close, then get caught in the churn of the wake and playfully surface and dive again.
A thought struck me. I hope in my life that I will sometimes leave exciting, positive feelings in my wake. I need to ask myself, “How do people perceive me? How do I come across? When I leave, are people glad I’ve gone, or do they look forward to my being in their presence again?”
My faith teaches me that I am, as I used to phrase it in my ministry, a “unique creation of a good and loving God.” That’s a key part of our spiritual genetics. We are connected with our Creator by a cord of love. God creates us in love, with no strings attached, and his love seeks to redeem us when we get lost, disconnected, or confused. When we are hurt by others, or cause harm or suffering to someone, God’s love offers to set us back on a positive, fruitful path.
It’s in the wake of God’s indescribable, unending love that I find my deepest needs fulfilled. God’s love restores my soul. Through his Son, who gave his life for me, I know there is always hope. My prayer is that I will leave marks of that love, and its impact on my life, in my “wake” as I journey through life.
Every day I need to ask myself, as life unfolds, “What am I leaving in my wake?”