What If Nobody Ever Left Anyone Behind?    by    Ruth Utnage

Folding laundry for hours can invoke boredom. I posed this question at work the other day, “what if nobody ever left anyone behind?” This is philosophical, of course, but we fleshed it out into a rather complicated matter that really cuts right to the heart of our fears. I would encourage you to do the same.

Soldiers have often found themselves in this position when a comrade gets wounded on the battlefield, do they ensure their own safety and leave him or do they risk their own life and go get him? Someone else pointed out an incident that silenced everyone for a moment, a time when they were in a dance club. An argument transpired, a gun came out and shot his cousin dead, him and his brother fled because they were all unarmed. There are less macabre examples though, like educators. At what point does an educator say “I can’t educate this person, I’m done”?

Elements of cowardice rose in the conversation when I pointed out that putting oneself in the line of fire would usually be out of the question out of fear of being extinguished. Cowardice. Allow me to expound. Leaving someone behind is to protect something other than the person being left behind, whether you’re leaving your teenager to drugs and whims or your comrade on the battlefield (of life or in reality), let us acknowledge this. This means that something else has proven more valuable, even if it’s our own life.

I have left someone behind many times, each time was for selfish reasoning. Each time it was because I personally felt the person was not worth my effort. However, when I really dig down into my reasoning, it was because I was afraid of the possible repercussions either socially, financially, physically, or mentally. I was afraid. Fear that leads to actions where someone gets harmed is cowardice. What if nobody did this?

I am going to posit that there will never be a time in our lives when we leave someone behind that it’s not being done out of cowardice. Many times I have watched as someone I believe in does something to harm themselves or someone else in some fashion, rarely was it a convicted criminal and I was left with a choice to save myself (reputation, sanity, record, or life).

Let me say this as you ponder. What if it was you on the battlefield hoping that someone had the courage to stay? What if it was you in the gutter hoping that someone would reach down and help? What if it was you that was struggling to learn a concept and your teacher walked away? What would you want to happen?

What if we lived in a world where nobody left anyone behind? I’d like to live in that place…

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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We forget about those we cannot see
Dream about those things which we do not have
Our attention gets spent on objects and concepts.
Yet you do not possess me.
Let me assure you,
I am a prize.

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