Thursday 23 January 2014

Leave It In The Snowbank!

Yesterday I had an appointment with my therapist. He makes allot of sense and it really starting to get on my nerves. He sits there knowing the answers to what I should be doing but does not share them, as he wants me to figure them out myself. Really??? If I could do that I would have already. We were talking about the fact that I tend to place myself into situations by taking on things that are really not any of my business. He said why do I feel the need to do nice things that end up causing more problems for me. I said because I would want someone to do that for me if I were in that situation. Here is the example I told him:

There was a snowstorm on Sunday. My husband being the brave soul he is drove my family and I to town in order to get some basics at Walmart. While we were in town I asked if he would take me to the bank. He agreed and I said "I will just run in". As I was exiting the vehicle I remembered that my daughter had asked me to get her more elastics for her Rainbow Loom. "I will just run to the bank, then XS Cargo and be right back" I assured him. XS Cargo was nearly sold out of elastics and all that was left were mixed colours of camouflage. As I ran out the door and across the slippery sidewalk towards the Dollar Tree to get my daughter the perfect combination of elastics I gestured to my husband that I had to run over and would be one minute. I meant it too. I was determined to turn a blind eye to all the enticing craft goodies and just get to my target. As I approached the door I happened to notice a very new looking Blackberry in the slush. Crap. I could not leave it there. The water would ruin what looked to be an expensive phone. It would only take a minute to grab it and take it inside to the clerk where the owner could salvage it. Racing towards the elastics the phone begins to ring. Its not my phone so I would of course not answer it. That would be rude. Oh, but what if it was the owner wanting desperately to find their phone. How would they know where it was if I did not answer the phone? After the second time it rang I figured it must be the owner so I cautiously answered the phone. "Belleville City Police, what is your emergency." What???? I told the person on the end of the line that I had no emergency and was not calling them, in fact I had just grabbed the phone out of the slush and was leaving it at Dollar Tree. The voice said that they would just send an officer over to pick the phone up and then the owner could get it at the police station. That sounded good to me. I grabbed the elastics and raced over to the counter. Behind me I heard the breathless, desperate sound of a teenage boy inquiring if anyone had found his phone. "I did" I answered happy to be able to return the phone. "The police just called on it though and they are coming to pick it up, maybe you can just show some ID and sign something saying you are the owner of the phone". This seemed perfectly reasonable to me. The boy lost it. I won't offend your sensibilities by repeating some of the language but needless to say the young man in question thought I had called the police on him and now he could not get his phone back because he had no id. The clerk at the Dollar Tree reaches for my purchase and says "I am just interested in what you are buying, this has nothing to do with me." Well, thanks for nothing Honey. I tried to explain to her what had happened but she looked at me with such a blank expression I knew the elevator was stuck mid floor. Finally after a very long awkward silence at the realisation that this woman had no intention of helping me out, the other clerk said "Well it seems clear that it is the boy's cell phone, take it and when the police come we will let them know it was returned to the owner. "  Perfect. Great Idea. I am free of the phone. I rush outside to my husband and children, surprised to find that he is perturbed at the length of time I had spent in the store. I explained about the phone, the police, the kid and the belligerent clerk feeling quite certain he would see things my way, to which he answered "You should have left the phone in the snowbank."

When I recounted this incident to my counsellor he asked me what was the right thing to do. "Pick up the phone and take it inside" I knew I had done the right thing. "Yes, take it inside and place it on the checkout counter, not answering it, not caring if the clerk wanted to take charge of the phone, not going above and beyond to try to see the phone safely returned to its owner." He said this is the Goldilocks principle "It's either too hot or too cold but I have to find the just right. Until I can just pick the phone up and leave it on the counter I should just Leave it in the Snowbank. 
I left his office feeling rather deflated at the thought that the world is such a bleak place that the good guy really does finish last...every good deed does not go unpunished. With the resolve to do what I had to do to change my situation I was determined to follow his instructions and practise "Not giving a damn" for the next two weeks. I made it as far as the parking garage where the payment machine was broken before I failed to not give a damn. I spent at least an extra 45 minutes redirecting patrons to an alternate machine (it costs $15 if you lose your ticket in the broken one) and helping a young woman with a stroller navigate the parking garage to get to the other machine. Crap. Why can't I stop it. Why can't I just walk past. Pretend I don't see. I stopped in the chapel on the way out of the hospital. A habit that I got in to some time ago. I took my Bible from my purse hoping that God would somehow tell me what I should do.I randomly opened to the book of Isaiah and read Chapter 42 Verses 6-8

6 I, the Lord, have called you in saving justice, I have grasped you by the hand and shaped you; I have made you a covenant of the people and light to the nations,
7 to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.
8 I am the Lord, that is my name! I shall not yield my glory to another, nor my honour to idols.

I think God wants me to go over the top to do the right thing. Go out of my way to help others. To be a light. Until he tells me otherwise I am going to run with that.So I think that I respectfully disagree that I should not give a damn. Maybe no one else will be changed by my actions....maybe no one will ever notice....maybe I do cause my own chaos...but maybe that suffering is part of my journey. Maybe the thing is not to change that very part of me that makes me ...welll, me...maybe the trick is for me to learn to cope better with the chaos that I inflict upon myself. Bare the consequences with more awareness that they are the price I have chosen to pay for my actions.  Do you create your own chaos too? Take inventory of yourself today and decide if the price is too high. Should you make the changes you need to make in order to achieve your goals, or would you like me, rather put your efforts into strategies to deal with the fallout? My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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