Only You Can (Extended Version)

Apologies for not being here yesterday, but I have dreaded “technical difficulties” with my laptop and I know I’ll be spending a long time on the phone with Dell this afternoon.  Now, this is actually something that someone else could do for me.  Someone could buy me a new computer, too.  Someone else could clean up my living room, make my meals, my bed, my kitchen floor visible under all the grime.

I believe that my husband would argue that no one can garden for you, take care of your home for you, mow your lawn, fold your laundry.  I believe that he would argue that no one can do anything for you because it is your life, that you are not interchangeable, despite how small or trivial the tasks.  And I get that, but it’s only one way to consider this philosophical question.

During the conversation with my colleague about things no one else can do for you, I said, “You coud just say that no one else can live your life for you.”  His reply: “That’s what you say when you want the conversation to be over, when you want to stop thinking about the topic.”

So here’s my first attempt at a list of things no one else can do for you (me).  I hope you’ll add to it, comment on it, and share, as Cynthia did in her comment about her father-in-law’s death, the perfect example of the truth of this belief that there are things that only you can do.

  • No one else can learn for you
  • No one can suffer for you
  • No one can grieve for you
  • No one can love for you
  • No one can be faithful for you
  • No one can tell you truth for you
  • No one can tell your story for you
  • No one can die for you, be born for you, give birth for you, be present exactly as you can be present

David Whyte says that human beings are the only corner of creation that can choose not to show up, not to be themselves.  A crow must always be a crow, but a human being can choose not to be him or herself.  Viewed through this lens of there being things that no one else can do for us, how sad and wasteful it is when we choose not to show up, fully, as ourselves.   We forfeit the truth that everything we do matters.

What have I left out?  What would you like to add to this list?  Let me know!  And have a great weekend!

And I’ll add with a quotation that Ann left as a comment a few day ago:  “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world” (Brandi Snyder).

photo by Bre Davis

One thought on “Only You Can (Extended Version)

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: