“Then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours.” – Arcade Fire, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex’s uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.
I didn’t go to the funeral. My uncle died a few weeks ago and I didn’t go. My reasons for not attending were legitimate and understandable. I sent bouquets—the only flowers at the ceremony—but I wasn’t physically there.
This isn’t a guilty confession but an acknowledgment that I don’t always do the most good. Sometimes I do the amount of good I can get away with.
I don’t make many phone calls because they are inconvenient to me. I know what they mean to those folks who most appreciate phone calls, like grandmothers, and yet…
One of the the conversations I’ve been having with myself lately is around how you know you’re a grown-up? What, in fact, it means to be a grown-up at all. Halfway to my 39th birthday and I pretend like I don’t really have a clue.
That’s not true. Maybe what it means to be a grown-up is to allow yourself to be inconvenienced by the greater good. To put yourself out. To be less comfortable so that others can be more comfortable.
To always attend the funeral. And send the card. And go when invited. And pick up the phone.
Small inconveniences can have big impacts. And, even if they don’t, so what?
What does a kindness cost you?
*Thanks Potluck. I hadn’t been there in awhile and this was the fifth link shared with me. It saved me from writing about the VMAs. #whatevermileycyrus