“Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross.” — Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero
I read this on the two year anniversary of the passing of my favorite Navy pilot. That this particular quote should pop up on September 12th is easily explainable, of course, being the birthday of the author Ondaatje. Yet it was this particular quote, dropped into my circle of awareness at precisely the moment when I needed to read it, that reverberated for me. And I wondered, what border am I crossing this week?
We ought to rise up to meet our moment. We ought to raise our voice and lend our hand, for these are the things that demonstrate that we care just enough about something other than ourselves. The question is in the meeting—just what might we offer to another in our brief time with them? The answer to that question lies inside, but generally it ought to be all that we can give.
Every interaction is an opportunity to lift. We create ripples of positive or negative energy simply by the friction generated in our words and actions. We dance with each, making our mark on the moment, and move on. But have we met a higher standard or did we let the opportunity slip away? What energy remains?
Our hidden presence lingers even after we move on. You may think back on the energy rippling from the soul of another you interacted with this morning or a decade ago. What is it, exactly, that reverberates from that moment that stays with you even now? How do we process that and return it to the world?
When I think back on each interaction with my favorite Navy pilot, the ripples tell me to seek more: More joie de vivre, more humor, more effort to measure up in the moment, and more focus on each personal engagement with another as I continue my march through time. These are his ripples passing through me to the world. His energy, continuing to reverberate, even as I remember what was lost.