Call to Duty

There we stood in the 33˚ rain, loading the Suburban with his mother’s life.

Call to Duty

Call to Duty

There’s an old saying: If you have a truck, you’ve got friends. Baby Huey, as I named my Suburban, supplies me with lots of friends. And so I was here in Cleveland, helping my buddy pack up his mother’s former apartment.

So we were loading Baby in the cold, lake-effect weather of Cleveland, not thinking about much beyond fitting as many boxes into this cave of a truck.

My friend’s mother had been declining with dementia; now she was a ward of the state, placed in a home, appointed a guardian ad litem because she had defiantly refused to ever sign over her care to her children. Who knows why? Now, the State would decide her fate.

John was there to close out her apartment and clean up the remainder. Baby and I were there to support our friend. We stood silent, in the gentle rain, apprising box sizes and fits. Unresolved grief hung in the air; we worked to forget.

We are men in our prime of life, and as such, we have to strike a balance.

On the one hand, we have children growing to be adults, feeling their independence, learning how to live on their own in careers, new houses, appliances and furniture. Budgets, work, vacations. And then, children of their own.

On the other hand, we have parents growing to be children, those who raised us, took care of us, encouraged us, until we could stand alone and be adults like them.  Now they are older, enfeebled, hobbled by disease and age. Our former strength, now becoming our wards.

It is an odd board of balance, one that is constantly shifting in weight. And then, our roles shift too.

At one point, we are the children, bawling, jumping on the board, seeking attention. At another, we are the adult, trying to smooth everything out and not upset either side. And finally we are at the other end, old, infirm, hanging on and perplexed.

Life: always a puzzle. Always something to do. And repeatedly, roles and responsibilities shift.

Many of the acts we perform in life are not those we chose to do. But we must perform them anyway, out of love, out of caring, from a center deep down within us that says: “This is who you are. This is what you do.”

The call may come from our family or friends in need of something.  Or our church needs us to assist in a project. Or our country asks us to serve.

It’s our call to duty. When it happens, we unthinkingly respond: “Yes. I will help. Here is my hand; count me in.”

So: what is your call to duty? Have you been called?

Ronald Sieber (that’s me!) is a commercial writer and author who muses about Life as we know it and writes a blog while on the road; leave comments on the blog – let me know your reactions. Contact me at if you want more results from your written commercial copy.



2 thoughts on “Call to Duty

  1. Damn, I shouldn’t have read this post while at my desk! It moved me easily to tears.

    As I recalled my own experiences with failing parents, I suddenly remembered how I processed and lumped together and labeled those tasks (the very ones you described in your post): Duty, yes, but also _privilege_.

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