Dave and I were talking about Syria last weekend and talking about what we could do to take better care of the world. To make it a better place for as many beings as possible. We had a bunch of soil in our front yard that needed (needs) to be moved to the backyard and were discussing the possibility of buying a new cart with which to move the soil. Dave said he didn’t want to buy the cart because it was just another eventual piece of trash to be thrown somewhere to pollute some place near where someone lives (even if it isn’t a person). This was tied in his mind to taking more responsibility and thinking through the impacts of our actions. I agreed with the sentiment but wasn’t so sure the cart was the best place to start making changes. He said you can always put off taking responsibility or making changes every day until you have lived your whole life in a bubble. Well, he said something similar to that. I respected his point. A lot. But we needed to move that dirt.
I said in my perspective the most responsible approach would be to find someone – a neighbor – from whom we could borrow a cart. My theory was/is that borrowing something weaves a small thread between you and someone else that might grow over time. And maybe someone else comes to you in the future for the proverbial (is that right?) cup of sugar, or maybe stevia or coconut water these days, i don’t know. And then you have a relationship and a community and connectedness and caring.
Problem is, Dave and I are just about the last two people on earth to walk up to someone we don’t know and ask to borrow something. How does that conversation start? “Hi, we’re your neighbors, you may have noticed the giant pile of dirt that we’ve placed on our communal street. Is there any chance you have an implement that we might borrow with which to move it? We are very responsible regardless of the fact that you have seen our stroller parked on our front lawn for almost a year in all weather conditions.” Doesn’t sound so bad actually. I think this is how the world works actually. But we just don’t know how to do it.
Dave does not buy the cart. The dirt stays in the pile.
Next morning, cart is bought. Turns out it is not the right tool for the job anyway, but the kids LOVE riding in it and pretending it is a ship. Great tires apparently.
Two days later, a neighbor drives by with her window down. We start talking. I mention the forecast of rain. She mentions that she has some giant tarps we can borrow to cover the pile so it does not cause flooding or other catastrophes. I smile and she drives on. I’m not sure which house she lives in or what her name is. So it is pretty much guaranteed I will not be borrowing the tarps which have now been offered and are desperately needed.
NO. We will not need those tarps. We will move this soil before the rain comes as God is my witness. So then um ithrewmybackout (imagine that is typed almost so tiny you can’t see it, i’m trying to say it fast so you don’t hear me). Yeah, back is gone, i’m on the floor for the rest of the day. The soil does not get moved because now Dave has to take care of me, make the dinner, put the kids to bed, do the laundry (and whatever the heck else it is that i do all day) and the rain is coming.
So the next day I look down the street. I see the tarp neighbor taking out her trash. I grab both kids by the hands, hobble very slowly and uncomfortably down to the neighbor’s house. She is inside by the time I get there and I think she sees me from inside and waves. I motion to her in some way to indicate that I’m there to see her. She comes out, I say something like “The dirt is still there, do you think we could possibly take you up on your offer?”. She invites us in to meet her pets, she gets the tarps, puts them in a wagon, walks me home with the tarps, tells me about when she got soil delivered and how they used the tarps to make the job easier.
The rain came. The soil is still all in place and well protected except for maybe 3/4s of a cupful that washed down the hill in front of the house. There was no flooding. My back is on the mend. And I feel a little more at home on my street and in the world. It is good to let people help you and good to help people.
So #9 is a retroactive achievement: borrow something from a neighbor.
And even though this is already a lot of words today I’ll report on #10: finish my wedding scrapbook. I decided I could either never do it or do it quickly so I opted for quickly since all of the materials have been sitting half-finished somewhere for almost 8 years. So in about an hour yesterday and an hour today (nap time) I finished making a wedding scrapbook which will now go back in storage for a while but I am sure I am going to enjoy looking at it during my 50 til 50 countdown. It was a beautiful wedding and fun to spend a few minutes at least enjoying all of the details again.