Earlier this week, I asked someone far wiser than me for some desperately needed advice, and last night I received this. I wish I had gotten it long ago.
Imagine the person you love the most has just been shot. She is lying in the street, bleeding and screaming. A guy rushes up and says, “Step aside.” He looks over to your loved one’s bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife – he’s going to operate right there in the street.
You ask, “Are you a doctor?”
The guy says, “No.”
You say, ” But you know what you’re doing, right? You’re an old Army medic, or….”
At this point the guy becomes annoyed. He tells you that he is a nice guy, he is honest, he is always on time. He tells you that he is a great son to his mother and is an amazing writer and has a great sense of humor.
Confused, you say, “How does any of that matter when my wife is lying here bleeding! I need somebody who knows how to operate on bullet wounds! Can you do that or not?”
Now the man becomes agitated – why are you being shallow and selfish? Do you not care about any of his other good qualities? Didn’t you just hear him say that he always remembers his mom’s birthday? In light of all the good things he does, does it really matter if he knows how to perform surgery?
In that panicked moment, you will take your bloody hands and shake him by the shoulders, screaming, “Yes, I’m saying that none of that other shit matters, because in this specific situation, I just need somebody who can stop the bleeding, you idiot!”
So here is the terrible truth you haven’t figured out yet: you are in that situation right now, and have been for some time. Only you are the confused guy with the pocket knife.