Sunday, December 10, 2006

On not quitting

Zhoen asked, "Ok, so why don't you quit?"

Short answer: I do not wish to think of myself as being the sort of person who would walk away from a friend in need.

Long answer: I live the Protestant work ethic without actually being a Christian: the all-purpose encouragement and admonition "there's work to be done" is deeply anchored in my soul. Perhaps that's my Prairie farmstead heritage speaking, generations of ancestors coöperating in order not to starve or freeze.

Friendship is coöperation. Friendship imposes duties and obligations, a friend is someone to whom you have certain responsibilities. Were you, Zhoen, to phone me out of the blue and say "I'm at the Stuttgart airport and my bag has been stolen" I would feel obliged to go out there and help you. No, that's not quite right: I wouldn't experience it as an obligation or a burden to be shouldered, it simply would not occur to me not to go. That's who I am.

I've known G for 24 years, he has given me help and encouragement at times when I sorely needed both. I owe him much. The shoe's on the other foot now: he is in a right mess in many ways. I cannot solve his problems, only he can do that; but I can help by showing him where the elephant is and lending a hand with the shovelling; and above all I can avoid adding to his burden.

3 Comments:

Blogger zhoen said...

Very good reasons. I shall hope for solutions for your friend, that may also help you.

December 11, 2006 at 2:10:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Antonia said...

yes very good reasons. The best actually. What you described is really just what true friendship is, a great thing.

December 11, 2006 at 3:17:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger brooksba said...

You are truly a great friend. Sometimes it is hard to not quit, but it is what feel right and you are doing what is best to help your friend. That is very admirable. You'll make it through.

December 11, 2006 at 11:05:00 AM GMT+1  

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