The Ember


A couple times each winter I cross paths with a woman at our local cross-country ski center.  I smile at her and sometimes offer a verbal greeting.  She never outwardly acknowledges my presence.  I assume that we have different agendas during out skiing time (that is the more positive rationalization I have told myself).  This weekend, we ran into each other at the trailhead on the final day of ski season.  With skis coming off and destine for the corner of the garage, she said, ‘knowing that I will see you out here every couple weeks keeps me motived.’  Trying to overcome the seismic paradigm shift challenging my entrenched belief about this woman, I muttered, ‘thank you, always good to see you out skiing.’  

This interaction reminded me of a talk given by the rector of a local Episcopal Church.  He spoke about the interconnectedness of a community of worshipers.  What motivates people to rise on Sunday morning and spend a portion of their day indoors in prayer?  A deep spiritual connection helps but he acknowledged that knowing other members of the church will be present to greet one another and notice our absence (not in judgement) builds a higher certainty of attendance.  By being present we increased the probability of others attending yet not always knowing who.

Some interactions are visible.  Students rise and have a high degree of certainty that their teacher will be in the classroom to greet them every morning.  Others are far more subtle.  What appears peripheral in our daily life may provide the most gentle of breezes that allows another person’s dream to continue to glow or even ignite into flame.  Who’s ember do you allow to glow?  Who keeps the glow of your dreams ready to ignite?  Actions that appears to be pedestrian in our own lives may be the point of ignition for someone we barely know.  Someone is counting on the vortex of your presence today.

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