When Uncle Bob had his lumberjack accident, I couldn’t wait to see him. First, I wanted to make sure he was okay, but then I wanted to scold him and tell him to “knock it off” and stop taking chances in the woods alone with a chainsaw. I think my lecture went something like this:
“Uncle Bob, you could have been killed.”
He looked at me like I was the silliest 48-year-old niece and said something like:
“Yes, and you could fall down in your condo and die too.”
I was taken aback for a minute and didn’t know what to say; once again, Uncle Bob had the last word and once again, he was right.
Since I couldn’t stop loving that stoic old man and there might be a day when I needed to borrow his tractor, nothing more was said about the incident. I have thought about his remark over time, though.
I live 200 yards, more or less, from the Atlantic Ocean. I’m also 3 or 4 miles from a nuclear reactor. If Hurricane Sandy had taken a different turn, Uncle Bob’s remarks would have been quite prophetic. There are only so many things I can do to prepare for such an apocalyptic event. At some point, I’m going to need to make a decision as to whether I should stay here or leave, but until I can make a decision and execute a plan, I have to accept the consequences of my decision to stay.
How long does it take to make a decision like that? It’s taken me a lot longer than it might take someone else. My friend Jaxon sold a property in 12 days once; he’s decisive! It consumed him. He always had time for a phone call or a walk, though, because even though he was thinking about the future, he was living in the present and taking care of the needs of the day. He was being a son, a brother, a friend, and an employee. He was carrying on.
When something catastrophic and destructive happens, it’s hard to focus; it’s hard to carry on. The news puppets of all stripes are screaming “something must be done!” I don’t know what it is that must be done. Some people might use tragedy for self-promotion and gain; I can’t understand trafficking in human devastation, but I know it’s possible.
I cannot fathom the complexity of the problem and how to fix it.
I can only wear my bloody heart on my sleeve and love my neighbor as best as I can. My friend Serena said the same thing yesterday; I’m glad she reminded me of this.
Love your neighbor today.