If you were to choose the thing that makes us human, what would it be? If there was one trait, one ability, one biological function, one characteristic, what would that be? Would it be the opposable thumb? The human brain? Our ability to evolve? Or would it be the many methods for which we can remove our mammal hair? So that we can be bare? And not look like a bear?
Let me tell you about the last three weeks (in the order of their occurrence):
- My friend Triabry wrecked on his bike, mangled his clavicle enough to require extensive surgery. He has since joined the ranks of the Super Hero Titanium Men that roam the planet.
- Spouse had a bike wreck, broke his scapula and two ribs which gouged a gnarly gash in his lung. His lung collapsed and he spent four days in the hospital.
- Vera's grand dog Annie developed a mass within her digestive region. The mass was removed but the future is unknown.
- A friend I run with had an emergency appendectomy. The surgeon says he had about 12 hours before things could have gone very bad.
- One of my blogger-internet friends had some serious issues with her dog, a vivacious and charismatic boxer. They removed a kidney, I presume with the hope of saving his life. I inquired to his recovery and found that he had passed.
- Another friend began to climb that heartbreak hill called "Save Our Marriage."
- The insurance company in which we are attached, and who we rely on to pay for Spouse's residual complications from the aforementioned bike wreck, began sending "we won't cover that" type of letters. Which are fun. So fun. We still don't have a clear idea of our financial obligation. (As an aside, I believe that is health care's biggest problem: you cannot walk into an office and say, "How much do I owe you?" and get an answer. Health care billing is not unlike the tax return.)
- Spouse had layoffs at work. Like, MAJOR layoffs. He still has a job but had to be involved with the laying off. Plus, on layoff day, he had to deal with me on a... uh-hem... rare drama day. I didn't know what he was dealing with and had become particularly demanding. (I'm totally kidding about having rare drama days, by the way. I have 'em all the time.)
- Vera's other grand dog developed a tumor of some sort. The tumor is attached to a few vital organs. As of Friday, the prognosis was still unclear.
- Last Thursday, our friend's daughter passed away after fighting leukemia at ages 5, 9, 13, 17 and 19.
- The Winder's grandpa passed away on Saturday.
Can you believe that list? I'm sure there's something I have overlooked. And this is just the major stuff. Plenty of nit-picky-it-doesn't-matter-but-it's-totally-annoying stuff has come our way too. Like, my car window won't roll up, the kitchen faucet broke, and the home phone refuses to give us a dial tone. (Truthfully, the latter is mostly fortunate 'cause I'm running out of creative reasons for not buying people's whatever.)
Plenty of great things have come our way as well – like Spouse has an operating lung and can breath –but the last few weeks have seemed rather unbalanced in the good/bad arena. There's been far too much yin and not enough yang. (Or is it too much yang and not enough yin? I forget.)
I'm afraid to ask, "What next?" and refuse to do so except to refer to it hypothetically. As is referenced here by telling you all that I'm afraid to ask, "What next?"
What I have been asking, however, is "Why does bad stuff happen to good people?" I'm not asking in a "why them" or "why us" manner. But rather, it's more of a philosophical asking. There must be a reason.
I consider myself a religious person, one who believes in God and one who believes there is a grand scheme to the life in which we were sent to create. (On planet Rabid, we create – not find – ourselves, by the way.) I believe that we grow stronger through struggle. Therefore, it makes sense to me that the Higher Power will not save us from some struggles so that we can become stronger. I believe this. But this is about me and my struggle, not other people and their struggles. There must be a grand scheme for the world and its many struggles. Individual struggles might make the individual stronger, but it doesn't necessarily make the world stronger.
The last few weeks have caused some inner evaluation, which in turn has cause a slight shift in the way I view all of this world-wide struggle. People everywhere are going through ridiculous amounts of yuck. No one is exempt. And what I have realized, in this pondering about the world-wide struggle, is that struggle might be an essential element for community.
Think about it for a minute... think about your relationships with friends and family. Now think about what it would be like if everything was perfect for them all of the time. Think about what it would be like. There would be no injuries or health problems, financial complications, or undue stress. No one would be hungry and no one would be cold. It would be perfect, yes?
In a world where everything is perfect, where everyone has it all, would there be a reason to care about anyone but yourself? Prolly not. You have it all – I have it all. You don't need anything, therefore you have no purpose for me. Truthfully, would you do a single thing for anyone? Would you feel the need to lift and energize, serve and accommodate? You might, 'cause you're that way. But me? I'm not so sure. You have it all, I have it all, so I'll just take care of me.
I would suspect that bad things happen to good people because it makes us care. We are not a survival of the fittest type of species. Some of you might disagree, but, like, there aren't too many successful one-man operations going on these days. (Take Man vs Wild for example. That guy can survive but he has a camera crew upon which to fall.) I suspect that working together is what keeps us walking along this planet, that community prevents us from getting extincty. (Hah! Portmanteau! It would be stinky if we were to become extinct.)
Bad things happen to folks, and when it does, we care about those folks and do something about it. We care, then we do our best to help them bear.
Caring for each other, I have decided, is the thing that makes us human. Not opposable thumbs or the many ways in which we remove our mammal hair.
We're Care 'n Bears.