Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

what we can

Today I visited the dentist again, to get a few fillings done. I have the nicest dentist. The music in his office is a bit on the "sentimental" side of the "easy listening" dial, so I went to the hypnos ambient music store and had them send him Jeff Pearce's Daylight Slowly album. I think that if one has have one's teeth drilled upon, there ought to be waves of non-sentimental, non-new-agey ambient treated guitar (or synths or gamelan, or all three) in the background. After the fillings, his brass tacks but nice dental hygienist took over for a "deep clean". "This is clearly an issue of personal care," she said, as she pointed out my various manifold brushing sins and wickedness, which my teeth most grievously did confess. I think to myself that just about sums up, in a more universal and different context, a lot of things I'm thinking about these days--a lack of personal care. I want to live in a world of personal care. I hope you'll pardon me if I don't proclaim anything about flossing for world peace, though.

Today after dentistry, which was over by 10:30 a.m., work came fast and furious, e mails in, e mails out, calls in, calls out. I did receive e mails and an IM from mail art friends who said they will participate in my Mail Poetry call, which was a gratifying break in a tough day. I felt a bit beleagured when I called to tell the North Texas Legal Services people that I would keep my commitment to volunteer at the Salvation Army to give free legal advice. I thought about trying to see if they really needed me, and then weasel out. After all, I rationalized, I have been to the dentist and my life is filled with stress. But when I heard they really needed folks, I decided not to try to get out of it.

I'm glad I volunteered. I won't go into details for understandable reasons, but these brief evenings help remind me that among all the things I can't control or change, there are things I am good at doing that I can do, and that it's not only in far away places that people desperately need our help. I needed this feeling--that I can do something. I really needed to do something tonight.

I sometimes forget how very fortunate I am. I sometimes forget how important it is to key into that human outreach place, and not be so self-obsessed. I am so grateful to people who are not really all that much different than I am, but have to play a different hand. They remind me how thin the veneer, and how close we all are to needing a helping hand. A business acquaintance had a health misfortune this week--another stark reminder. This has been a week of stark reminders--and I am determined to learn to help, and not to shrivel. My words and letters didn't help. Let's see if helping others does.
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