Blunt choice

I don’t really want to write this post. Which is the reason I’m writing it. Today is a day for brutal honesty.

I live in a part of the world where very recently, a lot of things that are normally terrestrial briefly became aquatic. Ridiculous amounts of rain caused really horrible flooding for a lot of people who live not too far away. The water has gone down now, leaving behind a lot of wrecked houses and buildings.

Floods have happened here before, though this one was worse than most. The difference for me this time is that I know people who were affected: I have spent a lot more time and developed a lot more relationships with people who live in those areas. This time it’s personal, and it lands me with a personal choice. What do I do now?

My church and a lot of my friends from elsewhere have leaped straight into the efforts to clean up. I haven’t yet. Partly from other obligations, but mostly from this: great swathes of me don’t really want to. Floods are terrible, dirty things, and the cleanup work is filthy and hard and I don’t really want to go there. I have to be very blunt and very honest with myself about this, because it wouldn’t be hard at all to find excuses. The only real excuse is this: I don’t want to help.

But I do want to help; if not, at least I want to want to help. I’m not sure anybody in the world actually wants to clean up after a flood. It’s just that some people don’t really have a choice. For them, home is a thing that was just underwater. They don’t have somewhere to retreat to. They don’t get to opt out, and I hate that. Life will get better for them faster, if someone else steps in to help with the work of cleaning up and fixing up and putting things back to rights. I love that so many of my friends are the kinds of people who give up their own time and stuff to make a situation like this better. I want to be like them. Or at least, I want to want to be like them.

So for today, the choice I have is a simple one. I won’t call it easy, but it is very simple. There are people who need help, and I may be able to do some good for them. Am I going to try, or not?

One answer leads me toward being a version of me I’d rather be. One answer holds me back. I know which is which. That’s very simple too.

Today I do have a real obligation to be elsewhere. Tomorrow I don’t. Tomorrow I get to work.

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1 comment so far

  1. kim desko on

    At the end of the day, there’s one person I have to face – me. And I know every thing I did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, thought or didn’t think. If I can’t look myself in the eyes in the mirror at the end of the day & be happy with the real me, we have a problem.

    I am not rich so I can’t throw money at a problem. My time is limited and free time is never, so I have to pick and choose where to put my energy. But if I’ve done my best to “do the right thing”, I try not to beat myself up for being human and limited.


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