I stood still and did nothing. I just watched. I wanted to do more, but who doesn’t? We always want to do more than we do. Thinking about something, what does that cost us? You can sit and think all day. It's the doing that really counts. But, there was the pesky fact that this time I actually had the solution. I knew just what to say. I had been there not too long ago. (Or was it forever ago?) I was in their same spot before and just barely got out of it. Believe me, I didn’t have someone to help me. Everyone had just stood there and did nothing. I was lost for years because of their inaction. I had really put myself in a bind. I wasted so much time, all of my money. Lost damn near every friend but one or two. Those friends are still with me today. If I need something, I can call them and they will be here in a second. The rest of the people, they slid away. They didn’t want to be around that kind of low point.
While I dug out of the hole, I found a new group of people. Peers is the right word. Ones that could relate, understand. People who don’t say “No way,” but rather, “Why not?” They accepted me for me. Well this me. Not that me. I came into who I am because of that low.
So there I stood, watching another me. Younger, so sure their life was over. So wrong about how they were reading the situation. It wasn’t the end, it was still the middle of the beginning. There was so much more story to shape. I could have told them all of this, but I knew something else that they didn’t. I knew that it was the mazes, the traps, the false bottoms and oh yes, the painful heartaches that strengthen the story. It makes the story worth telling.
I stood still and said nothing, but I didn’t do nothing. Doing nothing was something this time. By doing nothing, I gave them everything. I gave them opportunity. I knew It would hurt me if they discarded me because of the perceived inaction, but it was what they needed. Their helpless eyes looked up at me waiting for me to move.
Heck with it! I’ll just tell them the secret passcode. I will give them the blueprints for a pain free life, and they can have it all in one fail swoop. They can be spared the hard, awful work. They will get the easy way out.
“Dad, what should I do?” they asked.
“I don’t know, sweetie,” I lied.
Scott Ryan is a writer living in Ohio.