My parents didn’t come to my pottery show last weekend. It wasn’t that I do these all the time — this was my first show — or that they were out of town or had something of vital importance going on. My mom’s offhand comment: “Other things got in the way. You know how that goes.”
I’m actually pretty hurt about this. I shouldn’t be. I was never neglected or abused, but I was the kid whose parents refused to buy any crappy school fundraisers on the grounds that they weren’t a good deal. As a teenager, my closest emotional relationship was with the cat. My friend’s mother basically adopted me in high school. My father bitterly opposed my marriage. And so, not surprisingly, it was my friends who came to my pottery show and supported my studio. I am so grateful to have people in my life who fill in the gaps that my parents left. Even so, I think I’m sufficiently emotionally dysfunctional to make it a very, very good thing that I won’t be having kids.
Most of my blog is about considering the impact of my actions, but this incident made it painfully obvious that what we don’t do also has an impact. Often unseen, and sometimes hard to see. This week I find myself wondering: what is the impact of not acting more forcefully to mitigate climate change right now? What is the impact of not going out to join the Occupy forces? What is the impact of not coming to any meaningful conclusions at the Durban climate change conference?
It’s probably not good to get too hung up on this question. Obviously, there isn’t much I could have done to change the outcome of Durban and plenty of other factors in our continuing headlong rush towards climate change. But if you need some motivation to keep pushing yourself to do more, taking a look at the probable results of inaction seems like a pretty effective way to go.