Rose: Go away!
Jack: I can't. I'm involved now. You let go and I'm going to have to jump in there after you.
In this scene from my daughter's favorite movie, after Jack spotted the suicidal Rose, he couldn't go back. He couldn't go back to not knowing that a severely distressed young woman was about to leap from the Titanic's bow into the Atlantic. If he had turned away and pretended that he hadn't seen, it would have haunted him. It may even have destroyed him.
Once you're in, you're in. You may want to get out. You may even get out. Still, you can't go back to not knowing. Not caring. Not being involved.
Well, if you're compassionate, you can't. If you are a good person, you can't.
My daughters, Kylene (the Titanic lover) and her big sister Kyrra, used to live together along with a French bulldog puppy they named Kihei. But when their lives got complicated and they had to move, they appealed to my wife and me to take care of Kihei "until we get settled."
That was seven years ago, and not only do we still have Kihei, I don't think I could give her back.
I had never owned a dog. Since I was a kid, I had only had cats. Independent, easy-to-care-for cats. Cats who never left the house. Cats who peed and pooped in a litter box. Cats who didn't much care if I came or went - as long as they had acceptable food to eat and a comfortable place to sleep.
Kihei, contrarily, needs to be walked every day. Twice (At least). I've mastered the art of picking up her #2 with a small plastic bag. She makes it clear what she wants and when she wants it. When I leave the house she stares at me with forlorn brown eyes that heartwrenchingly ask, "Why are you leaving me and when are you coming back?"
Kihei transformed my lifestyle. Knowing she was waiting for me to be with her, I hurried home from teaching each day. I never used to do that, but the freedom to come and go as I pleased vanished. My wife and I plan for our dog like we used to plan for our children, only Kihei is a child who will never grow up.
We don't have to be responsible, loving, devoted dog owners. But we are. I get why other dog owners aren't. I can even understand why lowlifes abandon their dogs. I abhor them, but I get why they do it.
They give up because it's hard to be a good dog owner. It's troublesome to always have to walk the dog, feed the dog and make sure the dog is healthy - physically and emotionally. Dogs are time-consuming and expensive. It's simpler not to have them. Life is easier without them.
Easier but not better. Easier but not as fulfilling. Easier but not as affecting.
Easier is what we think we want, but it's shallow and life-sucking. Easier is fool's gold.
Go away from Kihei? No way.
Go away from my wife? Not going to happen.
Go away from my kids or grandkids? No chance.
Go away from anyone or anything that matters because going away would make life easier?
Uh-uh. I can't.
I'm involved now. Want to be happy (or at least feel better)? Get involved. And stop looking for easy.