Dodging Distractions

Posted on November 22, 2010


Sam wrote me this note today, as I sat with tears running down my face because someone walked into my perennially unlocked garage and stole my tools. She doesn’t really care about the multiplicity of electric saws or hand tools with lifetime warranties; she just thinks about people. I kept saying, “I’m so glad everyone is okay. That’s what matters.” I was still sad, however, so it wasn’t mattering as much as it might.

Elias was especially hard hit, losing both a new mountain bike and his custom longboard, but he never shed a tear. I’m still thinking about that. It’s not as if they’ll be replaced any time soon. He just isn’t crying about it.

I tend to be a cosmic thinker more than is healthy or realistic, but it still seems odd that today was the day I took a leap of faith and tendered my resignation, with no funding in place to begin in earnest my work with those trapped in poverty. It’s rattling to think one is less secure even than one knows, and tempting to crawl back and say, “You know, I better take that back … life is scary.”

It’s also tempting to think, “What am I doing? These are the people who steal from me? Who needs this? Really?” I’m perfectly aware that people from all walks of life steal, but I’m also realistically aware that it’s usually those who don’t feel part of the community who prey on others who don’t feel like their kin. I’m reminded of my hero Mimi Silbert, who is the first to say that those whom she has given her life to serve (ex-cons) find the most painful ways to strike out at her as they move through their stages of growing self-worth. She’s wry about it. It’s been 40 years. I’m not wry yet. I wonder if I even want to become wry.

It’s all a distraction, whether some maniacal force planned the day or not. Doing good pays long-term dividends and is no insurance policy that bad won’t happen. Somehow, one has to keep eyes focused on the goal and ignore every threatening wave. The plan is to walk on water, so wry we will be, Sam and me.

Even without a circular saw or a buffer. Imagine that.

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