Getting Involved

I’ve been consciously practicing getting involved when I see something that looks like it needs to be addressed — a dog wandering around in a neighborhood where I don’t usually see dogs, for instance, or a baby groundhog looking like it’s about to wander into the street.  This requires that I 1) pay attention to what’s around me, worth the exercise in itself, I think, and 2) decide quickly quickly whether or not the “something” is actually any of my business.  I don’t want to be going around attempting to fix things that don’t need fixing, or that do need fixing but by somebody who isn’t me.  ON account of some issues that I am liable to, concerning thinking I should be bossing all things around.

It’s another exercise in consciousness, I suppose.  Mindfulness with action.  Or inaction.

So I’m piqued by my friend River’s blog on that subject; she recently spent several days in the hospital, having nearly died, and, after getting back home, ran across the neighbor who had called 911, when she passed out on the street, from a blood clot in a lung, and was joyed to be able to say “thank you.” That woman saved her life.  Really.  The paramedics saved her life, and the doctors saved her life, and the medicines saved her life, but the woman who pulled out her cell phone and got involved saved her life first.

That was indeed a situation that needed to be fixed, and the woman with the cell phone was the one to fix it. 

My general rule, made up by me right now and hence maybe needing to be tweaked (please feel free to comment on this): Humans who are not adults, or who are incapacitated, are fit subjects of fixing.  Also animals who are in trouble because of human constructions (in other words, I don’t fix it when hawks get the bunnies).  Also nature, ditt0 (as for instance when the humans have thrown litter on it; nature gets a hand then, no prob).

It’s nice to be clear on getting involved with the world as I walk through it.


5 Replies on “Getting Involved

  1. I think these rules sound reasonable. I have developed a corollary in recent years: if a stranger looks like they could use some help, ask if they’d like me to help. In my case this generally involves elderly people or moms with babes either trying to carry 18 grocery bags or do something that requires an extra arm or two. And the corollary to that is: I’m not allowed to help unless they say yes. It helps me feel human in situations where I would have felt awkward just noticing their struggle & not saying anything.

  2. Yes, yes. If indeed the human is capable of talking (in River’s case, she was passed out cold, so one does not have to ask, and indeed it were foolish), then I ask. Yes. And usually they say no. But I ask. I ask really cheerfully, and then when they say no I smile and walk on. Or, if they say yes, then there I am being helpful.

    This is all, of course, a form of aventure.

  3. “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

    – James Baldwin

    I like that