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I AM ONLY ONE

This post is dedicated to Tracy Hymas Shaw and Chris Sloan, both of Tooele, Utah

I am only one,

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still I can do something;

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

                                     –       Edward Everett Hale

A couple of years ago, I was elected Precinct Chair for Rush Valley.  Elected?  Appointed is more like it.  I did not aspire to it and I did not do much more than I was required to do. 

A few nights ago, I hosted our local caucus meeting.  (I’m told that caucus meeting is a redundancy because the two words mean the same thing.  That shows what I knew.)  Anyhow, I was re-elected as precinct chair.  It seems that my minimal effort was enough to get me to do it again.   

I don’t say this to shame anyone who was there for choosing such a loser. That night, people from our community chose others who were willing to shoulder more responsibilities than I.  We elected one county and one state representative. 

Being elected as a county or state representative means a lot of meetings they will have to drive a lot of miles to attend.  It means a lot of phone calls that will keep them on the line a lot of hours  where they will listen to a lot of promises or, themselves, ask a lot of questions. And, (worst of all) it means a lot of mail they will have to seriously read that I usually throw in the can.

Most of us will say that we cannot imagine that, in the end, it is worth all of the time and trouble to be so involved.

There is a story told about a ship that was in distress during a severe storm off the coast of Holland.

     “A rowboat went out to rescue the crew of the fishing boat.  The waves were enormous, and each of the men at the oars had to give all his strength and energy to reach the unfortunate sailors in the grim darkness of the night and the heavy rainstorm. 

     The trip to the wrecked ship was successful, but the rowboat was too small to take the whole crew in one rescue operation.  One man had to stay behind on board because there simply was no room for him; the risk that the rescue boat would capsize was too great.  When the rescuers made it back to the beach, hundreds of people were waiting from them with torches to guide them in the dreary night.  But the same crew could not make the second trip because they were exhausted from their fight with the storm winds, the waves, and the sweeping rains. 

     So the captain of the coast guard asked for volunteers to make a second trip.  Among those who stepped forward without hesitation was 19-year-old youth by the name of Hans.  With his mother he had come tot the beach in his oilskin clothes to watch the rescue operation.

     When Hans stepped forward his mother panicked and said, “Hans, please don’t go.  Your father died at sea when you were four years old and your older brother Pete has been reported missing at sea for ore than three months now.  You are the only son left to me!”

     But Hans said, “Mom, I feel I have to do it.  It is my duty.” And the mother wept and restlessly started pacing the beach when Hans boarded the rowing boat, took the oars, and disappeared into the night.

     After a struggle with the high-going seas that lasted for more than an hour (and to Hans’ mother it seemed an eternity), the rowboat came into sight again.  When the rescuers had approached the beach close enough so that the captain of the coast guard could reach them by shouting, he cupped his hands around his mouth and called vigorously against the storm, “Did you save him?” And then the people lighting the sea with their torches saw Hans rise from his rowing bench, and he shouted with all his might, “Yes! And tell Mother… it is my brother Pete!” 

Our country is in the middle of a severe storm.  There is much to be lost if we abandon those who are trying hard to save our precious constitution.

Fear or laziness sometimes keeps us from being all we can be.  I have attended a few meetings when it was convenient to do so.    But, like Hans, there are others who are doing the heavy lifting.  Perhaps I cannot be one of those just now. 

Or maybe my talents run in other directions.  Maybe I am like one of the people who stood on the shore lighting the way for Hans to return with his prize. 

But I am one.

And I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

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