Warning: not everyone is going to want to watch this video.

On August 26th the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) rescue ship, the Bourbon Argos, rescued about 800 refugees from Tunisia and Syria. I chose this video, in part, because of the subject matter of the most recent story I’ve just completed. And also, because this rescue operation does not end in tragedy.

Ladies and gentlemen, the distance that separates most of us from this sort of fate is so precariously thin. I’ve spent years designing and building fault tollerant computer systems for Microsoft; take it from me when I tell you that the lifestyle you enjoy is likely one or two steps removed from a catastrophic systems failure. That’s a scary thought and most of us would rather just not entertain notions of this sort. Which is why, I believe, it’s so difficult for us to pay attention to the plight of others who must contemplate such measures.

The joy these people show at being plucked from the Meditarrianian should inspire you. Don’t get me wrong, I hope it goads you on. I hope the faces of these people compel you to examine your compassion and your own humanity. I hope you go find a way to help (even if all you do is politely ignore guys like Scott Walker and Donald der Trump). But they are happy to simply be alive, and that’s a boundless sort of elation.

The short story I’ve just completed, (working title is “Goat”) has me thinking about this sort of thing. The storm and brief power outage we just weathered this weekend and me thinking about what life is going to be like for my kids. I think that there is every reason to find out how deep our bucket of generosity is; to discover how much we can help.

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