The sheer scope of selfishness I encounter daily truly still shocks me. It seems our humanity is chipped away as we strive for more things, more prestige, more power, more control and more base satisfaction.
We seemed defined as a people by what we have, not what we give. What we control, not what we support, the envy of our peers, not the admiration of those in need. Glory is being redefined as superiority. Grace, humility and goodwill are seemingly out of vogue.
Even acts that appear to be in service, often later are used as fodder to feed pride, boasting and the weapon to beat others down below our imagined status.
Left unchecked, our country, our communities and even our personal families will become an after thought to our pursuit of that new age definition of glory.
Ignorance abounds. True ignorance, as in the lack of knowledge. Sometimes willfully we turn away from the unpleasant or distasteful, yet miss the opportunity to become enlightened because we judge unknowingly. Sometimes we are too prideful to acknowledge our lacking and seek enlightenment. Sometimes we simply can not image what we do not know and stumble in the dark, having no idea enlightenment is nearby.
I am certainly not suggesting that we should all aspire to perfection. Remember, the last perfect person around here got nailed to a tree for his efforts.
Simply that we attempt to put aside pride to gain knowledge, reject strife and embrace peace, be mindful in everything we do accepting that we are horribly flawed and going forward with purposeful effort to resist our base temptations and be humble, loving and supportive to our fellow man.
Accountability is considerably out of style, we seem to just take what we want, say what we want, do what we want.. Not willfully as they did in the 60's, with a arguably misguided idealism, but subconsciously grasping for anything we can take, consume and conquer. As if it's our right as humans to climb on the backs of others to grasp our share of the glory and prosperity we feel entitled to have.
The lack of foresight is alarming, we as a country, as a community and in our own families seem unaware that the actions we are taking now have long reaching ramifications. No man is an island, there is no such thing as a free lunch, you pay the piper eventually and so on... Yet struggle around us seems to pass by unnoticed, as long as we are not impacted, it doesn't matter.
I'm sure some humanities geeks out there would disagree, but I don't think it matters how we got here, just that here we are. It is what it is.. What do we do now?? Many of my peers have an attitude of "hate it for them, not my problem" yet to me it seems like an encroaching river set to sweep us all away. As the folks on the lower plains are being pulled out, it's easier and more pleasant to turn away and focus on ourselves, but consider what we are losing, what those that are gone could have taught us, how our lives could have been enriched by them. Sure, it's hard to reach a hand out and try to help a drowning person, they may struggle against you, they may pull you down also, you may try your best and fail to save them, making no difference at all with your efforts except to be disheartened and exhausted. So why bother? That answer lives inside us, the pursuit of grace, humility and knowledge is self motivated.
To put a finer point on it, what the heck is going on around here?
I think that most of us could name 4 or 5 great people that have passed away in the last few years. People that were loved, respected and adored. Over the past year I have received emails and phone calls that reference them in the most disturbing ways. Instead of a legacy of love, the pursuit of knowledge and kindness to others in their memory, they are used as ammunition is bitter battles. I don't believe that even one of them would be proud of this legacy, I think they would be appalled that their memory is brought up to attack, to discredit and perpetrate strife. No matter how true any accusations are, no matter how shamefully anyone acted, let the past rest, let people be remembered in love and grace or not at all.
We die... What we do before that happens matters. Consider what purpose your life has served, is it the pile of things, the clout, the prestige, the fearful admiration of those you consider beneath you that will be remembered?
Unfortunately it's not only what we do as individuals, what are we involved in, who we fellowship with, if you surround yourself with negative folks, you're going to be negative, if there is strife it will eventually overshadow any peaceful efforts you make. Lay down with dogs, get up with fleas and all that..
So what do you do, turn away from those that are not on your path, let the river sweep them away? We know that's not the right answer, yet how can we maintain our bearings? I believe our first responsibility is to manage our thoughts and behaviors, then manage our sphere of influence, then try to impact our community, our country and finally our planet.
I do not believe you can be abstract with that, if your life is in disarray at the foundation, your heart and mind, you can not do good elsewhere. Worse you are susceptible to those negative influences, risking being swept away with them.
Stop reading if the scripture squicks you out ; ) My daily reading was powerfully appropriate and I felt like sharing :
Luke 47"Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49"But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.
We've seen the ruin of some great houses. Get your foundation right first! Then help your neighbor with his. Only then step out into the world and try to make a difference there.