This I Believe

Brian - Warrenville, Illinois
Entered on April 20, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

The Epiphany of the Clay Pipes

One day, returning from an appointment, I took the exit ramp off the highway. As I turned onto a side road, I saw, to my left, a bundle of large clay drainage pipes, still strapped in their packing material, right in the middle of the road. These pipes were about 10 inches in diameter, and 15 feet long. The bundle was a pack of four or six of these.

I assumed that they had fallen off a construction truck. Frankly, I was amazed that they had survived the fall. But I also thought, that if someone hit the bundle with their car, they could really be in a mess.

I started to turn my car around, at the same time thinking “How am I possibly going to move that by myself? That bundle must weigh at least four of five hundred pounds!” Nonetheless, I pulled over to the side of the road, and got out of my car, walking towards the bundle.

At the same time I was doing this, another man had pulled his pick up off the road and was also walking toward the bundle – we greeted each other and I said “I don’t know if we can move this, but I wanted to see what I could do.” He motioned me to one end of the bundle and he went to the other.

When we tried to lift it, we were both shocked – it was plastic pipe, weighing only a fraction of what either of us had anticipated! We both smiled at our shock, and, feeling a bit sheepish, easily moved the bundle out of the roadway. We gave each other a wave, and went our separate ways.

I haven’t always been a big volunteer – now, as I’ve gotten older, and have kids, I find I do more volunteering – I’m an avid volunteer at several local forest preserves, I donate blood regularly, and I chair my company’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk every year. I spent four days right before Thanksgiving last year in New Orleans, helping to prep houses for reconstruction. But I have noticed a couple of things about volunteering, and they all stem from what I call my “Epiphany of the Clay Pipe” and they are a big part of my belief system – so, here are three of the things I believe:

1. If you see something that needs to be taken care of, and you don’t do something about it – who will?

2. If you start to do something to help out, chances are good that someone else will, too.

If you start to help, you usually find that the task wasn’t nearly as tough as you initially thought.