What We Could Do

We’ll all be dead someday. I’m pretty sure about that.

What I’m not sure about is what to do with the time we have before we’re all dead.

I’ve seen a lot of options, most of them terrible. For example, we could treat each other like garbage. I see that a fair amount. We could take a lot and give very little. We could strut around demanding respect we haven’t earned. We could rest on arbitrary laurels. We could be cruel to people with whom our paths cross. We could be especially cruel to people who seem different than us.

We could act like making it through the check-out line quickly is more important than a cashier’s dignity. We are very important and have somewhere to be. We could presume to know enough about a stranger’s situation to pass judgment on what he or she should have done differently.

We could snarl at one another and clutch our possessions and income and resources and food and opportunities to our chests. “These are MINE! Do not take them! They’re mine!

We could view someone wanting to build a life in this valley as an affront to the folks already here – the ones who got here first. We could clutch the things we know and fear the things we don’t yet know.

We could pretend to be tolerant but use racial slurs with our friends. We could write checks to the nonprofits of our choice but vote for folks creating policies that hurt people and strain the agencies trying to help.

We could talk a lot about “supporting troops” but really mean we support troops who look like us, vote like us, talk like us. We could call our moms on Mother’s Day and thank them for caring for us, then fall silent when a woman’s work is paid far less than a man’s.

Who are these babies who want it all, anyway?

We could tell folks that Montana is full and lord over them the accident of our birth or our foresight and gumption to move here 30 years before they thought of it. We could pay $19.99/month to lodge our extra possessions in a climate-controlled storage compartment but balk at buying a $3 sandwich for a homeless person.

We could do all these things.

And we do. These and more.

We’ll all be dead someday. Mercifully, I suppose.

 

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