Click for detail

I’m not talking about what or who you’re committed to; I’m talking about your level of commitment. When do you know you’re really committed to something? When do you commit wholeheartedly to landing that sucka no matter what it takes?

In this political season (in what I think is a critical political season), I feel committed. I’ve been donating money to the Obama campaign, I’ve been posting stuff on Facebook and sharing other people’s posts. I’ve been sending emails, I’ve been yakking at parties and generally spreading my deep wisdom all around. Isn’t that commitment?

I’ve also been attending phone events and dialing for Obama. I did this in 2008, but only recently felt enough commitment, or urgency, to start calling again. Nettie and I went to a call event last Wednesday at a private home and made calls to Colorado and Nevada. (Nettie went door-to-door in Nevada in 2008…she was deeply committed.)

There were about ten people phoning for Obama on this Wednesday afternoon. There were cookies and grapes and a big backyard to walk around in and call folks. Mostly, they’re Democrats we’re contacting, but some are Independents and Republicans, too. We’re not trying to do any convincing on the phone (people believe what they believe, and the undecided seem to stay that way until the very last minute). We’re just trying to get the vote out for those already committed to their position, preferably the Democratic position.

I was feeling pretty good about myself and my level of commitment to this cause of getting Obama re-elected. Committed enough to plan on coming back every Wednesday until election day and to attend another phone session with Nettie on Saturday morning at the Mall.

Saturday morning at the Mall was revelatory. Simple as that.

The phone bank took place on a balcony across from the AMC Theater entrance. I’d never noticed this public space before…a loose collection of tables and chairs with small groups of people chatting, holding informal computerized teaching sessions, a couple homeless folks snoozing or reading the morning paper with their dog.

In the far corner was the Obama sign and registration for the call lists. There were about twenty of us committed voters there when we arrived. We got our lists, found a place to sit and got ready to make our calls.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small, wheeled bed being pushed toward us. On the bed was a short man draped in a blanket from his neck to his feet. Only his disfigured hands were uncovered and his head. He wore a breathing mask over his nose and was attended by the person pushing the bed-like wheelchair.

At first I thought they were lost. Surely, they were looking for some other place. Perhaps, a physical therapy office? Or a care center?

No. This man was here to register for the Obama call lists. He couldn’t walk or move his hands or even move his head, but he could speak, and quite eloquently as I learned when I overheard his first call to a voter.

His attendant dialed the number, held the phone to the supine man, and he spoke with great commitment about the importance of voting your heart, of voting your head, of making your voice heard no matter who you were.

Needless to say, I reflected. I considered what it had taken for this quadrapalegic man to get here. The planning for the day, the bravery to come out knowing all the while how noticed you would be, how on display your every action would be.

Now, that’s commitment, I thought to myself. This man is committed. No need to question it, no need to consider it. Committed.

To what am I committed to this degree, I thought?

Wife. Children. Family. All these are commitments to myself. How about to others? To community? To country? To planet?

Big questions. I know they are. Often, meaningless cliches.

But on this morning, this small man on this small bed was bigger than them all.





4 Responses to Are You Committed? Really Committed?

  1. Stephanie says:

    Great post, Brother. I will be sharing…. I love you!!!

  2. cynthia Maxwell says:

    Beautiful FZ!! What an inspiration to us all. It pays to count your blessings and commit to life well lived.


  3. Lea says:

    As the man said, committing with one’s heart, head.. That soulful commitment is key. Is that passion or discipline? Or integrity?

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