The morning was quiet and peaceful.
Sounds of animals beginning to stir and birds singing.
Hummingbirds were visiting the feeder, and a couple young deer were grazing next to the creek.
CRASH . . . a tree fell in the woods somewhere over there. There was no perceptible reason. Just CRASH! I didn’t see it fall. Perhaps the high winds and heavy rains a couple of nights ago started the unfolding of the demise of this tree.
My first thought was that I probably need to go ahead and buy that chainsaw, and then I wondered. What is my obligation as being the only human to hear this tree fall? Must I launch a search and rescue operation? After all. what do we do when we witness a car accident? Do we stop to check on the people involved, or do we look the other way and drive on as if we didn’t notice? Often, we let ourselves off the hook by commenting that the people will be OK because we saw one of them using a cell phone . . . or another driver has stopped . . . and we justify our lack of participation by dismissing the event from our mind with an: “Oh! they’ll be OK! . . . Besides, if I Stop, that’ll make me late to my appointment” . . . and we move on with all of the gawkers in our cattle drive on down the road.
Often, I turn on my flashers and pull over to ask if there are any injuries and/or if they need me to make any calls for them?
My opinion is that we humans have managed to become self-absorbed enough that we often slide into a mode of “That’s someone else’s responsibility.” Most will look the other way and of those who do notice and participate do so with words of encouragement and the oh-so-safe compassionate offer of: “I’m sorry for your misfortune! Please let me know is there’s ANYTHING I can do to help you.” these are the compassionate trivial many.
The folks who really make the difference are those who show up and take action. These are the people who assess whatever they see and decide to do something about it NOW. Later, we see them in the news portrayed as “HEROES,” and they almost always dismiss these superhuman labels because they only did what they thought they should do . . . there was no extraordinary bravado or valor performed. These are the authentic Vital Few!
I’m not here to judge or label because I know that each and every one of us has appropriate potential and that each moment offers infinite possibilities for engagement.
What I am hoping to to convey is the true value of intentionally slowing our collective (uncaring) frenetic pace of our busy lives enough that we NOTICE when crisis strikes those around us, and pause if only for a brief moment . . . long enough to create the space in our minds to assess if and how we can help . . . even if it’s simply making a phone call or offering a ride or bringing a meal or just dropping by for a visit.
YOU are a hero!
It takes a village . . .