When it rains it really does pour, and sometimes a lot of bad things happen to really good people - but no cliché can accurately describe what it’s like be in the eye of the storm while its raging. I’ve recently watched several friends endure storm after storm after earthquake after tornado after, well, you name it – it’s probably happened. Even as a mere onlooker I’m being blown away by the whiplash of impact after sudden impact and yet the grace with which these blows are being taken in stride is both dumbfounding and awe inspiring at the same time.
I have a lot of friends under black clouds right now – loss, uncertainty, injury, betrayal, sickness, and disappointment are plaguing way too many of the people I care about. Practically, logistically, and morally it has been easy to the point of being involuntary to push back against the wrecking balls that have been swinging violently in my par view. In doing so, I’ve gotten a lot of the “I’m sorry to ask you this, but…” or “I know you’re busy but…” or “I’m so sorry – I know this puts so much on you…” or “Thank you so much, you’re a life saver” or “You’re a saint”. No I’m really not… in fact, no to all of the above. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that my friends are appreciative – but it actually strikes me as alarming - since when are such basic acts of human compassion perceived as acts of valor?
As a society, have we fundamentally become so far removed from the “do unto others” mentality that it’s now considered an incredible act of kindness to actually come through for people? That’s incredulous. I really did seriously contemplate the opening of this can of worms, but decided after investing over twenty years into the art of saying exactly what I think, its not worth employing the filter now. I have always been of the 'pay it forward' school of thought – you do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, for all the people you can, for as long as you can. Period. Why wouldn’t you? Because its not convenient, because there’s nothing in it for you, or because you're just too busy? Shame on you…
I have both weathered and witnessed many a rainy season in my almost twenty-two years of living, and for every monsoon, I can think of two kinds of people: the ones who built the arks, and the ones who dropped the anchors. The ark builders are the ones who see the red sky in the morning, have an ark built by high noon, and are dragging you onto it come hell and high water. The anchor droppers are the ones who see the same sky, run for the hills, and drop their anchor – pleading themselves as a source of stability from a distance, but never gaining enough mobility to come through for you: AKA the textbook fair weather friend. I’ll tell you a little secret – 90% of my ark builders have no idea that their support was an ark in a flood of biblical proportions – but you can bet your bottom dollar I’d do the exact same for them on any given day without giving a moments pause to consider the storm I’ve just decided to weather. Maybe that makes me crazy and irrational, but I’ll take that over the shallow apathetic alternative.
It all comes back to how your treat people. I have seen marriages fail, friendships destroyed, love lost, and reconciliation denied all because self-absorption and complacency takes precedent over basic human compassion. You take care of the people who take care of you… Perhaps that is the point at which grace abounds.
So when the monsoon comes, which are you – the ark or the anchor?
To all of my ark builders, thank you… and to my anchor droppers, thank you too – you’ve taught me twice the lesson.