I’m on the fence about telling you what I did yesterday.
Other Ruth: Do you want to edit out that cliche?
Ruth: I don’t know, this is the way I talk.
OR: You’re not talking, you’re writing. Perhaps, “I’m having trouble deciding whether or not to tell you what I did yesterday” would be better. You know, to avoid, being cliche.
R: It’s not the right voice, though.
OR: Whatever, it’s your post.
R: Where was I? . . .
I’m on the fence about telling you what I did yesterday. One side of the fence is my Grandma’s camp. Total WASP humility. One should do good works, give generously and keep it on the down low – just like that Bible verse. I think it was a Bible verse, I’m not even really sure because it wasn’t quoted or anything around the house. I just know that the concept of maintaining all forms of modesty — at all costs — flowed hard from my maternal ancestry. Familial moral codes are weird, too, because I don’t even remember this value being pushed with the spoken word (except that one time; I’ll spare you today). Come to think of it, the ethic must have been modeled. I learned from what wasn’t done, from what wasn’t said.
The other side of the fence is my belief that when we let people know what we’re up to, we might actually encourage them to follow suit.
Other Ruth: Bridge cliche now?
Ruth: It’s a common figure of speech.
OR: If you want to be common.
Anyone who knows me knows that I do an okay job of beating out my heritage on this front. That is to say, I usually share openly about whatever it is that I’m up to. I just get so excited, I can’t resist sharing. So I’m going to tell you.
Other Ruth (eyes rolling): Surprise. Surprise.
I had an incredibly great day yesterday. You know how some days, you get it right? You budget your time to include enough of most important elements to be fulfilling? Well, short of getting some low impact cardio, yesterday was like that for me. I think it’s because rather that starting the day harvesting my imaginary artichoke crops at Farmville, I showered and drove to Common Ground (awesome place!) in Santa Monica where I helped bag groceries.
Now, I’m not saying this to be all self-congratulatory. I mean, I have a friend who has been quietly doing this for years. I have another friend who has spent Saturdays (for nearly a decade!) working at a food bank out in the valley. I bet half of you reading this probably do regular philanthropic activity. The reason why I’m broadcasting my one hour of unpaid labor is because I’m so grateful.
No, really. It’s such a privilege to be invited into new places and to be made welcome and to feel useful. If all I ever did in life was earn money, surf the net and spend money, I’d rot from the inside out.
Other Ruth (mid sigh): Cliche . . .
Yesterday reminded me that one key factor in my future happiness is going to be making regular service a priority. I’m not talking about fund raising and writing checks. I’m talking about going out into the world and working elbow to elbow with people. I’m not fooling myself into thinking this is selfless; no, it’s a selfish attempt at wholeness. And there’s no shame in that.
Because I’ll tell you something, while I was there counting out jars of peanut butter and bagging cans of pineapple, Other Ruth was silent.