The Next Right Thing
The title above comes from a line in the recent movie Frozen 2. I’m not embarrassed to say that I saw it, twice. Cartoons often provide important social commentary (and they’re pretty to look at).
Here’s the relevant plot point:
The main character Anna is in a dark hole, literally and metaphorically. She’s faced with despair as she watches her world’s magic die and confronts the likely ruin of her kingdom and those she loves. The impending disaster comes as a result of her ancestor’s misdeeds – toward people of the forest and toward the earth itself. The elements of the planet are now wreaking havoc and require amends to be made.
Indeed. How to proceed forward when hope no longer serves as an operating system? What motivates us when it might be too late for our actions to even be corrective?
Anna decides to "just do the next right thing,” and you can watch how the movie develops. In real life, however, doing the next right thing does not necessarily lead to happily-ever-after. There are no formulas or guarantees in terms of outcome.
So, why do the next right thing if we don’t know it’ll make a difference?
Well, why not? What else am I going to do with my time – continue on in denial, complicate matters, behave in a way that erodes my integrity? Even if doing the next right thing has no outward effect at all, it may have an inward one. And, at least, it’s not making the situation worse.
Which leads me to another action taken in preparation for this Blog entry. Years ago, my family switched from the local utility, PG&E, to a supplier of more sustainable sources of electricity (solar, wind, etc.). But, after a while, something happened and we ended up being switched back. We intended to correct that and stay with the sustainable supplier, but, alas, for the usual reasons (procrastination, being busy, yadda yadda yadda), we never did follow-up.
Here’s what it took to complete this: 1) going on-line to see the options for switching (15min), 2) finding PG&E paperwork with our account info on it (5 min), 3) calling PG&E and making the request (7 min), 4) being directed to another department and calling them to finalize the switch (10 min).
Thirty seven minutes later, the sun revealed itself from behind the coal-fueled cloud that had been hanging over our heads - its yellow face eager as always to warm us and power our home.
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