I have a favorite coffee shop in St. Paul. It’s nothing special but the building sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. Occasionally, on my way home from work, I’ll grab a Java and stroll along the peaceful waters and watch the wildlife that dart from tree to rock to open sky.
There are barges on this portion of the river, pushing or pulling their tons-weighted, coal filled flat up north then south on it’s way to processing. I see them. Sometimes I wave to the weathered captains or stand reverently, admiring their power. This day, I marveled, not at the power and size of the haul, but at the wake they left in their … well … wake.
The ship cuts in half what was forward and sends the small hills of water port and starboard quarter behind. Small at the stern, the waves spread wide the further the ship sails until they rhythmically lap on to the banks on which I stand.
It struck me, this day, to ask myself the questions, “What wake do I leave? When I pass by, how do my words and actions land on the banks of other peoples’ lives? Are my waves gentle or are they flooding? Will people remember my passing gladly or with sorrow? How do I want my wake to impress?”
I sip my coffee and walk back to my car, thinking about my wake. God willing, my life leaves a wake of gentle joy.