The Greater Good

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#15. Save a life.

Removing a bath towel from the linen closet a clever child will tie it tightly to his neck and suddenly it becomes a cape. Using his little hands to carefully cut out a paper mask that he has assembled from a stack of old newspapers, he will apply a bit of string and his alter ego takes shape. Stepping into a pair of his daddies old cowboy boots that are oversized for his feet, the boy will attempt to walk the path of goodness. It is in this child’s play that the boy becomes the hero he sees in the everyday man.

When we are young we think that these heroes serve and protect for the purpose of creating goodness in the world, but, more often than not their acts of heroism necessitate from the need to be brave when others are weak and cannot stand up for themselves. A courageous individual is no stronger than the average person. They do not have super powers, as such powers do not exist. While a heroic person may possess the knowledge and skills of how to act in a time of crisis, has the ability to remain calm, and the resources to provide comfort or assurance to a victim, they too are only human.

In my life, I can only recall two instances when my bravery has been tested. The first of which was when I was a young boy, and I stood by and watched my mother save a life. The second time, I was actually the one doing the saving. I guess you could say that being a witness to such an act created a hidden strength inside me, or I learned very quickly how to take action. I mean, how unlikely is it that I would experience almost the same phenomenon and react differently in both situations?

Crouched over the stranger who lay in the aisle at the department store, my mother applied pressure to his forehead where blood had been streaming out. As we had happened by moments before, this man had a seizure and subsequently fallen backwards into the edge of a sharp clothing rack. As his body convulsed on the floor, my mother yelled for help. I stood in shock. How did she know what to do? At that moment, it was as if time stood still and everything around me suddenly became a blur. I was scared, but also concerned. When the ambulance arrived I was finally able to breathe again.

Several years later, during my first week at my new job, a co-worker also had a seizure. Minutes before, I suspected that he was not behaving in his usual manner. In fact, he began turning in place, like a clock circulating to the next hour. When I tried to speak to him, he couldn’t answer. When I reached out to touch his shoulder he started screaming. At that moment he was afraid and admittedly, so was I. Anticipating that my co-worker might collapse like the stranger my mother and I had encountered years before, I wrapped my arms around my co-worker to stop him from spinning. I clasped my hands behind his head and gently laid him on the floor. Being the only manager on duty, I told a fellow co-worker to stay calm and call an ambulance. Hurriedly, she picked up her cell phone and dialed for help. Speaking with dispatch she was able to explain what had happened and requested an ambulance. While we waited, I held my co-workers hand and tried to keep communicating with him. I kept telling him to stay calm, but inside I was screaming. My hands were shaking, as if my own body were having convulsions too. While I was terrified on the inside, I knew that my co-worker needed me to take care of him and be his assurance.

I have often wondered if I should find myself in such a situation, would I have the courage to save a life. On a scale of one to ten, I have never considered myself to be a fearless person and would probably rate myself a four or five in bravery. Even when I was growing up, being bullied in school on a daily basis, I never stood up for myself, or anyone else for that matter. I cowered in corners and hid behind my locker out of fear. I was the victim. I guess it was easier for me in a way to always let other people win. I have never really been a competitive person, and figured why give them another chance to poke fun of me when I fail.

I do not consider myself to be a failure. I never have. In fact, I might suggest that my accomplishments are plentiful, but, despite these accomplishments, I remain humble. I do not consider myself to be a hero and even find that my acknowledgement of such heroes is ridiculous because as previously mentioned heroes are just humans. When people are put in the right place at the right time and know how to take action, they can accomplish many great things. There is no science behind goodness. It is a human condition to help, show compassion and empathy for those around us.

As a boy, I always wanted to be a hero. But, as I look back on these moments, being a hero is just the fictional title we give those that save lives. Some people do this every day because it is their job. While others like me, are only called upon when the time is right. We all have the power. Grab your cape and suit up!

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3 thoughts on “The Greater Good

  1. Gosh, you write so beautifully and fluidly that captures the truth of things when so many neglect their past in so many ways. Thank you for your efforts in reaching out to others and showing them the good in people like yourself.
    It is not everyday to see beautiful people with such warmth and understanding in which you express to make others look within themselves for the better of all mankind.
    And as I grow older with each passing day to remain locked in this cage of ice and snow, I will at least know that there are people in the world who’s hearts are filled with the light of love…

    May you live long and with a love that you deserve.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and poetic response. It is the beauty that one exudes from their own pain and suffering which creates the most change. Often I have been too afraid to be all of myself. I am constantly redefining and shaping into the person I want to see in the world. Somewhere among the darkness I had forgotten that my light could still shine bright enough to see and have been making an attempt to illuminate the hearts and minds of those readers who were still looking for it. I sincerely appreciate your kindness, and I hope you will continue reading my blog. Wishing you all the best, OC

      1. Wow! Thank you for your kindness!

        My darkness, my cage of ice and snow is my unwillingness to come out of the closet for various and obvious reasons that some left in my family as well as my friends would clearly no understand who I real am and how I feel that love has no boundaries when it comes between to hearts that love.
        I had a love in the truest of form. I was 16 and when our eyes met and it was love at first sight. This was alien to me. I never thought anything of the sort when it came to this “love at first sight” thing, and then my upbringing started to argue with me in my head. Thoughts racing on how wrong this is, yet my mind, my instincts told me that this is right, this is real love, and so, I chose to love him and be with him and didn’t care about what my family and their book says because in my heart I knew it was real love that I was never going to turn my back on…
        But then he parishes just a few months after we met, and I’ve been in misery ever since the day I lost him. He was 22 when I lost him. And in that brief moment in time we shared we loved a lifetimes worth. We did not have sex because he and I were kind of scared, but he was mostly showing respect for his younger mate, as he and I knew those moments in time would’ve eventually come to fruition. Heck, I’ve never met anyone else with such a loving heart as he had to even begin that journey again to finally have that moment of lovemaking, that connection that transcends space-time and fills your heart with love that flows over your cup.
        And so I remain in the dark, the closest of lost and forgotten souls, in cold of winter, for I think that day will never come again…
        To give my heart peace, and my moment of spring.
        I will continue to read.
        All the best
        T.H

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