There I was, perched on a stool at the Genius Bar, Alderwood, contemplating my dark (dead?) iPhone, praying for it, for a tech to rescue me. Misery came in threes this week. First, the Prius was undriveable due to loose bearings in the left rear wheel—garaged while we drove Ardene’s FIT to Oregon last week. Upon our return for a large weekend conference, my phone ran dangerously low on battery. Reentering the passcode numerous times, the system locked me out. Full stop.
And third, after returning home late, we discovered our cat Sugar had thrown up her breakfast. We took fifteen minutes searching hidden corners to find her crouched in the back of the last bedroom closet. She was lethargic and wouldn’t eat. Sunday morning, worried, we carried her to the only open vet: the emergency hospital in Lynnwood where she received fluids and an anti-nausea med. We joined the last plenary late, only to find, that evening, that Sugar still wouldn’t eat enough to survive.
On Monday early we postponed my date at Toyota service and drove to our vet, admitting poor kitty once again for fluids and appetite stimuli overnight. We had one car. No mobile phone. No cat. I spent the third day at Toyota.
Thursday, four days later in my newly safe car, I made it to Apple rescue. Hallelujah. In less than 30 minutes my phone was restored. Finally, I joined Ardene to pick up Sugar and return home with iPhone, cat, and wheels.
This is the stuff of our lives. Luckily it was a cat, a car, and a phone, and not a knee-joint, bleed, or heart attack. Not disease. Not famine. Not war. The world surrounds us with worse hourly. And what good does knowing that do? Millions of our neighbors suffer sorrow, pain, death, and heartbreak worldwide, drowning us in guilt that we can do so little. How useless I felt. I was not ill. We had enough to eat. We were not under attack or afraid of invasion or arrest, as millions are. In fact, despite our quarreling, the lies and vitriol, we are among the most fortunate peoples on the earth. And even here, among our close neighbors, are hunger, sickness, and death; threats of arrest, and abundant hate.
I remember Thoreau writing, “One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?” I found solace in an email….
Remember you are not asked to save the world or even a single creature.
You are asked to listen, to hear what you are called to do/, great or small, and do that….
In the chorus you sing only one part, but when you change your note, you change the whole chord.*
Let us sing our faithful harmonies into the universe, offering our united choruses of hope close to home, as well as far away.
*Steve Garnass-Holmes, “Unfolding Light”