The Next Right Thing
I’ve always liked that saying, from whenever I first heard it, I think maybe with the don’t drink one day people, or it could have been in one or another residential setting with some loopy adolescents. Don’t remember. But, I always liked it, with its implicit action of course:
Do the next right thing.
Lately it’s become a mantra of sorts for me. Now what? Now what? What’s Next? Now what do I do? Why – silly goose – do the next right thing. A mantra for me as of late because my universe kind of got sucked into a black hole a couple weeks back and I came up for air with – like Dylan – no direction home. No “Home James” for this cat. Just a Now what?
They say to keep it simple. They say take it one day at a time. It’s all good stuff and there have been a lot of days in my life when I have lived a little better, more fully, even, maybe with a bit of righteousness, following those suggestions. But those days aren’t these days and these days I’ve been sitting and staring off into the space of a living room I’ve spent my early mornings in 11 years now. With a a blank sheet of a steno pad on my lap, balanced on one leg, wait for it, Buddy, wait for the inspiration and jot it down and then you can go and make one of your “To Do” lists and start checking stuff off. And one could make a case that that, doing that, going down the list, is doing the next right thing.
But generally breathing again isn’t on the list. Generally repeating what the deal is, the real deal, over and over and over again to your son, the one with the “condition”, in the hopes that on the 11th or 13th time maybe it sinks in, maybe some of it, nah, that’s not down there on the list. Asking for help from the Higher Power thing for some understanding just for the next five minutes – just that. Not down on the “To Do” list. But, for sure, at least I think, in the moment the next right thing.
There are important things to do – as important as life gets, and there’s also letting go. There’s looking for boxes and there’s selling things you’ve loved the best you can love things because, well, it’s a thing, and it’s right, and maybe it’s what you do next.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of what feels like the next right thing. What feels inspired. What feels shared by that “Power” space, for me the breeze blowing down the street. What about this, Buddy? Here’s a thought, Buddy.
They, those people I told you about earlier, they also say first things first, and that feels a bit closer to doing the next right thing, and reminds me my friend Donnie Sisson from my hometown days saying “All you can do is all you can do.”
Pretty much all I can do – am doing – these days is asking for help and hoping I’m doing the next right thing. Which, I think, is a good thing.