Yesterday afternoon involved a long car ride in the rain to pay respects in front of a very small casket. It was the sort of afternoon that totally drains a person, but it made me so glad that there are small things we can do to lift up the other people in our lives and that I surround myself with people who are willing to do those small things.
On the way home I saw a car with that old Ben and Jerry’s bumper sticker that reads “If it’s not fun, why do it?”, and I thought seriously about leaping out of our car and banging on the other driver’s rear bumper. As you know, I love fun, and I have often thought that I might be able to get behind a slogan that read along the lines of “If you have to do it, why not make it fun?” But sometimes things are not fun, they are just awful, and we do them anyway because that is what human beings do.
It’s just a bumper sticker, don’t get so worked up about it. I think anyone who has been paying attention to the world knows that it’s not just a bumper sticker. It’s a way of thinking that allows us to ignore people around us who are in need if their need seems inconvenient. It lets people get away with not going to funerals because “it just reminds me of the last time I was in church, for ‘so-and-so’s’ funeral”. It keeps grieving people waiting to hear from the people who are close to them, who because of embarrassment and dis-ease decide that it’s not worth reaching out to try to comfort someone.
Some of the things we do are just not fun. On my worst days I think of them as the price we pay for living. When I’m particularly thoughtful or philosophical, though, I think that they are the only thing that can sustain us. When someone needs you, you go to them, whether or not it is convenient or comfortable or fun. Much of our lives are simple duty, and that duty is the manifestation of the love that in the end can be our only hope.