The ones who didn't never do, and we never expect them to. They're just too tired of living. They've never known enough happiness or joy or mercy or even reprieve from suffering to make life worth fighting for. They just take up the chains like they've taken on every(more) other burden that's befallen them. They bear the shackles until their bodies give out beneath the weight of their woes. And when it's over for them, I imagine they're more grateful than anything.
The one who did put up a fight like I'd never seen before. The meaty-white scars coursing like veins across his back suggested he'd known slavers before. In the end, no amount of blows would make him submit. He was lashed until glistening red, with deep grooves carved mercilessly out of the surface of his body. When he lost the strength to stand, he continued to writhe around in the dust, demon-possessed. Lungs bursting, eyes rolling fiercely, like a speared boar about to go dark from blood loss but still ripe for the fight.
He died there in the sand. But as the scene repeated itself in my head over the days and weeks that followed, I realized that he took a part of us with him when he went. Before us had been a man who loved life more than any of us would ever love anything. We knew that we would live well into old age with the wealth of our dealings; but we also knew that no number of decades spent indulging in luxury would be enough to make our lives mean what his had to him.(less)
All to often we watch the evening news and are told about a hoarder who has 50 cats, or a family who is one mortgage payment short of owning their home outright. Or the single mom who can't afford health care for her children let alone gifts at Christmas.(more)
While these stories are meant to be informative mostly in today's society it just annoys most people. Long are the days filled with compassion for the people in need. For too long there has been the assumption that someone, somewhere will help these people.
Who are these people who help? The only way I meet these people are by myself volunteering for the cause. I am the one who did...the walk for the cure, the food drive, gave blood, trained dogs on death row so they could find a home, made sure my students had parents to go home to on 9/11 when everyone else went home and became certified to rescue animals during a natural disaster. You might have to evacuate your home, long after the area has been closed to all but emergency I risk my life to save a farmers cattle, horses... livelihood.
Taking is so easy. Being "the one who did" is so much harder. I just hope that when I'm on the other side in need of help someone will stand up and be the person for me who is "the one who did." Maybe it will be you?(less)