Saturday, June 23, 2012

It had to be done

My friend Matt posted a blog today about how people react in emergencies.  He discussed how some people think first in an emergency, trying to decide how to act, and how other people act first and do what needs to be done, then think about it later (and usually have a lovely breakdown when all of the "what ifs" hit them at once).  A phrase that has been in my mind since I read his post is "it had to be done".

This afternoon I was putting new elastic in the waistband of a pair of pants.  I could probably have done it in five minutes if I broke out the sewing machine, but I find hand-sewing to be very relaxing, so I settled onto the couch and turned on the television for background as I worked.  I happened to land on a showing of "Iron Man".  (Yeah, yeah, there's a point, I'm getting there! *grin*)  My attention was caught by the scene in which Tony Stark tries to stop Pepper Potts from walking out of his life by explaining just WHY he has to put himself in danger to help other people.  He discusses how he's reaped the rewards of violence and arms development without really thinking about how those items are used, and now that he has been through his experiences and had first-hand exposure to the havoc that his creations wreak, he knows that it is his responsibility to make up for some of the chaos that wouldn't have occurred if he hadn't come up with his ideas, if his company had been more responsible about who they were sold to and where they went.  He looks at Pepper with anguish and the hope that she'll understand and says, "I just have to."

The Universe isn't really known for its subtlety.  It has a tendency to smack people in the back of the head with Clue by Fours every now and again, and I suspect that this thematic recurrence is just another one of those CxF type instances.  But I find myself examining it and wondering just how it is supposed to apply in my own life.  I mean, I'm not a billionaire playboy philanthropist, so I can't really build an amazing suit of powered armor and leap into the fray.  I do tend to be one of those who act in a situation rather than sit and think about what I should do, but I don't think that it would be helpful for me to run around trying to find emergencies as here are many well-trained and qualified people out there doing that already (this is where you should pause a moment to give a heartfelt thanks to the many police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, military members and so on who keep our butts relatively safe every day).

So what is it that The Universe is trying to get me to do?  As I ponder this question I come to realize that it isn't always the big things that need doing.  Pulling someone from a burning building is an amazing feat of courage and ability, but sometimes the little things can change people's lives nearly as much as the big ones.  When someone is on their last reserves it can be the small gesture of kindness that pulls them back from the precipice. 

I'm doing my best to grow as a person, to find ways to make the world a little better, a little kinder, a little nicer than I found it.  Some of the ways are bigger than others, but all of them are things that I just have to do.  I can't look at certain situations without jumping in and doing what I can to make them better.  What those situations specifically are don't really matter to anyone besides myself and the others (if any) involved, what matters is that I'm not sitting back and just thinking about what I should do, I'm going ahead and doing first, thinking later.

I suspect that if you look around yourself, you'll find things that you can do, things that just have to be done.  Little things, big things, little things that are big things to the recipients, there are all sorts of opportunities out there if we just pause and look around and then look inside ourselves.  Once we find them we can move forward into acting, not just throw theories around about how to make things better.

Take a moment and pull your head out of your own life, take a look at the world around you.  Seize that moment, do that thing and that stuff for those people.  When you're all done, stop and think about it, why you did it, what worked and what you could have done better, even possibly break down for a moment because it is a little overwhelming.  And when you've done all of that, take another moment, a deep breath, then smile and say to yourself, "It had to be done."


  1. Ever read the Incarnations of Immortality series? That big toe that everyone dismissed royally screwed everything. You're like the universal counterbalance to the damned big toe.

    Rub you!

  2. This evening, my friend, my boys and I celebrated a Native American Summer Solstice by the river. Startled a teenage Canada goose that had monofilament wrapped tightly (looked intentional) around both ankles. My friend picked her up, and I cut off the plastic with my multi-tool. We freed her in the river. We are Wildlife Superheroes! Now, can we get a squad to hunt down the human who caused such pain and stress to a wild baby?


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