Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Where are the "theys"

It's easy isn't it to wonder why "they" haven't done something isn't it? I mean for example - why haven't "they" cleaned out that corner flowerbed at the church? Why did "someone/they" leave candy wrappers on the gym floor? Why don't people at the gym put their equipment back in the order they found it - don't "they" have any sense of order? Why are the chairs strewn around in a higgeldy-piggeldy manner after a meeting - why don't "they" put things away? Someone should let the "they" know that certain things should be done a certain way, right?

When in your life, or maybe you haven't yet, did you figure out that you are the "they" that you believe should be taking care of all the incidentals of community living, whether it's in a church, a business office, or in your home. I remember one day when it dawned on me that there just weren't enough "theys" around to get the job done and that, oh my gosh, I was now one of the "theys" that I had always depended upon to make things civilized, orderly and just right!

I try not to be too preachy in my posts but as is the way at times, I need a little preaching to myself so I'm putting you readers in the "they" questions column along with me. Today, I tackled a couple of projects that I thought "they" should be doing. They weren't huge tasks, nobody told me or asked me to do them, I definitely won't be getting a gold star, and I can remain anonymous as long as you don't figure out the tasks I managed to squeeze into my day which was pretty full of things to get done without doing a "they" job.

I remember my sis telling me one time about an experiment in which she participated - one involving committing acts of random kindness in a neighborhood that was not her own. The bottom line of the experiment involved a police car pulling up next to her and asking her "what she was up to?" After her explanation, I think the cop understood, but the neighbors were definitely suspicious of a young woman seemingly just wandering in the neighborhood, stooping occasionally to pick up a piece of trash or pull a small weed. We are suspicious occasionally of one of the "theys" doing something they're not required to do - it makes us a little uncomfortable and maybe casts them in the light of a patsy or a chump - but think about it. Maybe today you'll see something that "they" should have done and you'll find yourself bending to the task............spiritually, and you know I always try to tie a little of that into each post........spiritually it sort of all comes down to the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, doesn't it?

Let me know if something just jumps right out at you - at you enough to convince you that you are one of the "theys."


  1. Your post reminded me of numerous occasions when I grumbled about "them." It is a fault that Benedict especially castigates in his Rule.

    My problem is the feeling of self-righteousness I get from doing what "they" should have done! In the darkest days of my depression, our priest Paul invited some university students to the Sunday Mass on campus and a lunch afterwards. He asked us to bring stuff for the lunch. Despite all the noise people make about being a welcoming place for students, I was the only one who brought decent hot food for the kids. You can't feed university students on cookies. (Later one of the students shared a lasagna from home!] I even had trouble carrying the container in and setting it up and had to beg for help. I was crushed. It gnaws at me still.

    I am sure there were good reasons why people either misunderstood the message or could not comply, but the sense of carrying the load for everyone causes me to carefully circumscribe my availability nowadays in that group.

  2. there are great lessons to be learned by putting ourselves in "their" shoes.

    when i have a thought of "they", my mind more easily switches to thinking "Oh, maybe that's why i'm here...maybe i'm the they."...so if i see a spare piece of trash that bugs me, (maybe - not always) i stoop to pick it up instead of wondering why "they" threw it down in the first place. oh, yikes...now i really sound like a member of the smug do-gooder club!!!

    thought provoking post. love it!!!


  3. Barbara, I can relate to words about getting a self-righteous, perhaps "head swell" would be the word(s), doing a chore that someone else "should" have done but I've sort of learned to get over myself on that point as much as possible. Or I should say I still work on that attitude of mine.

    Lucy's point about doing something like picking up someone's trash and NOT immediately going to how horrible THEY are and how good I AM is another temptation that lingers when doing a THEY job.

    I think the most positive part of doing a THEY job is that it makes us into the responsible, to be admired citizen that we might have observed THEYS to be now and then:)

    THanks again to you both!