Swimming in the Flood

Working as a writing assistant at a college never ceases to present new and unexpected experiences.

They don’t always relate to writing.

Earlier, while waiting for my shift to start, I sat in the hallway while a paraplegic professor rolled back and forth across the hall in an electric wheelchair. We knew each other’s faces well after sharing that hall for an hour. As I approached the restroom door, he came out. I smiled, but he kept his head hung. Odd, I thought, after establishing an unofficial acquaintance.

I saw the urine first. It pooled under the toilet. It steadily spread across the tile. I next saw soiled, balled up paper towels in the trashcan. I stood there, still, for a few seconds and watched the urine move. His averted eyes. This is a tiny bit surreal, I thought.

I laid paper towels down on the tile, wiped up the mess with my shoe, and kicked the paper towels into a pile next to the trashcan. I had a sense of duty to this man. He needed help and I was his person. I feel dignified for it.

It is not shameful nor wasteful to feel pleasure from helping others. In fact, even if it’s your greatest motivation for helping, a positive feeling evoked by doing good can’t help but decrease world suck. Sure, pure intentions are the most worthy, but we’re emotional beings. It’s okay to feel.

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