| 10 Apr 2008 @ 20:16, by David Bartholomew|
[excerpted from DoingIt!, May, 2007]
I get together with a bunch of friends for some regular hyjinx, and each time, in order to divide the labor, we choose “captains” to setup and cleanup the space, bring or replenish certain items, etc.
Taking turns is, theoretically, a good way to have everyone do his or her fair share; but I have noticed something. It seems that a select few help out each time, regardless of whether their name is on a list for a particular task… and others do the bare minimum, up to and including-- getting in the way and slowing things down for the assigned taskers, and perhaps even squirreling out of those times that their name is “up”.
In this case I happen to have been one who tries to show up early and stay late whenever possible, out of gratitude for what I receive from these get-togethers. I realize I am able to do this kind of thing. It is suited to my strengths. And I acknowledge that others might make up for their part in other ways more suitable to them.
But… (here is another sizeable but… and I strive to exercise control of, and manage and decrease the size of my but, to the degree possible)... once in a while a lightning fast flash of judgment bolts across my mind as I am sweeping or whatever: Why does so-and-so need to have his/her name on a list in order to do something?
I handle my but by reminding myself that if I am not doing this task in joy, maybe I ought not be doing it. Maybe I should reframe that thought before it morphs into resentment. Maybe I ought to pay attention to what I am doing. Maybe I ought to mind my beeswax!
That I do, to the best of my ability.
Aannnnd… in noting how I admire others who are always showing up… and in being with some relatively newfound pride in accepting that I am becoming one of those people who shows up pretty consistently as well…
… I wish to enter into the minutes of this meeting of minds the question— What would it look like if we all stepped up to such a degree? What might things be like if we all saw the thing that needed to be done… and did it?
Didn’t wait to get nominated, assigned, roped into it. Required no cajoling, shaming, ribbing or admonishing. Just put our shoulder under the canoe, bellied up to the bar, opened up to a new… casual… way of being where such opportunities to serve the whole were continually sought out and easily dispensed with.
I work with guys who will kid each other, spur each other on— especially one on an off or lackadaisical day— with a good-natured, slightly sarcastic, “Don’t be afraid of it!” As in-- don’t be afraid of the work, of doing your share. There is “x” amount of work to be done and it needs to get done before we “knock off” for the day.
I like this. Even on the odd occasion that I am on the receiving end of the jab. Because… you can all talk about it for so long. You can give it the once over, the twice over. You can postulate and pontificate. And sooner or later… someone’s going to have to do it. Or—face that it might not get done.
I have chosen to be one working toward getting it done, and I hope you are with me in this noble endeavor. “If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?,” went the unforgettable slogan on the wall of the team locker room at my high school. I have always understood that that motto could help one crank out a couple more reps on the bench press… or, taken to the nth degree, into a space of increased personal integrity.
Beyond the world of “I got mine” and “It isn’t my turn”; across the sea from “It’s not my job”; on the far shore that has never heard echoes of “I didn’t put it there, why should I pick it up, waa, waa, waa?”…
… is a land where the buck stops with each person, integrity and accountability are increasingly on the rise and greater possibilities reveal themselves every day.
This line of thought goes beyond the tendency of the reticent ones to relegate and dismiss such aspirations and encouragement as hackneyed, clichéd, cornpone and naïve. It becomes one of the simplest, foundational building blocks toward a better world. And p.s., it feels great on the other side of having taken it on.
As we look for the menial… and make it meaningful… we come to understand the satisfaction of serving each other on a whole ‘nother level. And isn’t this who we have come to be?
“The difference between what we do
and what we are capable of doing
would suffice to solve
most of the world’s problems”
~~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Little by little one walks far”
~~ Peruvian Proverb
is the natural prayer of the soul."
~~ Nicholas Malebranche