Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Do Anything?

I was listening to an interview with Walter Mosley today and he said this thing that struck me. It was in regard to President Obama and how he felt about his track record thus far. Essentially he said people have a short memory of the incredible mess this President walked into, and sure it hasn't been perfect, but he is just one (admittedly powerful) guy in the White House. Really, it is up to us to carry the momentum of real change in this country. I believe that is the first time I have really heard someone put it into just those words:
"I agree, he has a lot of power. But he doesn't have enough power without us."

Later in the day today, I encountered a friend and colleague who somehow started talking about Betty Chinn, about serving the food alongside Betty Chinn. I think we were talking about sometimes feeling lost in the bureaucracy of a very greedy and broken healthcare system, and how that lost feeling wears you down. Betty Chinn, just thinking about her, gets you out of feeling lost. I suppose she has done more to heal our community than most of the doctors combined.

Even later in the day, I came home to refresh prior to tonight's night shift. I had two choices: nap or run. It was seriously chilly out and I, still being an impressive insomniac, am dog tired. I wavered for a bit, but then got on what turned out to be too many clothes and ran for 90 minutes.

I have been reading a lot, which is my usual thing when my brain is abuzz and I cannot sleep. My reading has been mainly set in the jungle for some reason. Africa, South America (twice, two different novels), Florida, and finally Vietnam. After a string of women authors I reached for Matterhorn.  This book initially was jarring. No offense to feminists, of which I suppose I am one, but this was most definitely written by a man. I can only say that it is a beautiful, horrible book. I am glad I read it sort of how I am glad I read Night by Elie Wiesel. I cannot get it out of my mind. Matterhorn leaves you asking why about every other page.

I am full of WHY these days. Like a two year old who reads too many intense novels.

Why should we hold ourselves responsible for the work our government?
Why should Betty Chinn feed so many, and ask for nothing in return?
Why does that make me feel better able to concentrate on the day to day healing I attempt to do in my broken profession?
Why did I read that book and why did those guys have to suffer so much and why can't I sleep??
Why does my teenaged son NEVER take his hoodie off?
Why run when a perfectly cozy bed is beckoning you to nap a bit before a night shift?

Hippocrates is who I always go to for answers:

"Eunuchs do not take the gout, nor become bald."


"Life is short, Art is long; the crisis fleeting, experience perilous and decision difficult."


"Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future."

Or, my personal favorite:

"Walking  Running is man's best medicine."

Now I just wish he had some advice on teenagers who lurk under hoodies.

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