1: the track left by a moving body (as a ship) in a fluid (as water) ; broadly : a track or path left
J and I were blessed to get to go to Louisville overnight for a concert. We had a wonderful time - more on that later. On my way back, I took a detour to avoid construction on the interstate. The disadvantage of this was that it took me a bit longer to get back to Nashville. One advantage was that I was able to see some lovely Kentucky countryside.
As I was driving along, I noticed that in many places the road was lined with tall blue flowers. My route was a winding road that didn't allow for high speeds. Even so, I noticed in my rear view mirror that the flower waved in the wake left by my passing. It made me wonder what type of wake I leave on an everyday basis.
One reason the flowers waved slightly at my passing was that my speed was restricted by the path I was on. Had I been able to go faster, they would have been tossed about in my wake. Am I speeding through life and, in doing so, knocking others off their paths? Am I shaking them to their roots or creating a gentle breeze? We don't always have the pleasurable restriction of a winding road to curb our tendencies to hurry. (And sometimes, when we do have that winding road, we chafe against it and rush along anyway instead of enjoying the meandering path.)
I've noticed recently with my children that my reaction to them makes such a huge difference in their reactions. This is Parenting 101, but sometimes I forget the basics. A few days ago, K knocked over a stack of glass bowls while helping me set the table. They didn't break, but they made a lot of noise as they hit the floor and they startled both of us. We both jumped at the sound and I started laughing. K looked up at me, frozen for a moment, and smiled, then laughed. If I had said her name sternly or reacted harshly, her reaction would have been completely different. But instead of plunging ahead and leaving a rough wake, I managed to cruise along and not jostle her.
J and I know an older couple who leaves a gentle wake everywhere they go. Whenever we spend time with them, we feel refreshed. This is the kind of wake I want to leave behind. Not one that jostles and pushes, but one that comforts and soothes.