Why do we not strive to be better people? I’m not speaking spirituality here. Religion has not cornered the market on good people. I am speaking of a daily exercise in choice and restraint and justice.
While driving in pouring rain this morning I was talking to my mom. She was telling me about the message she was receiving while listening to TD Jakes. The CD was Alone but not Lonely. She was questioning why she was still alone? She was asking what she needed to change to be sent a mate? Loneliness is something we all grapple with but in my mom’s case, I think it is likened to having a terminal disease.
her questions center around why isn’t she worthy of being in a relationship with someone else who is worthy? She said she doesn’t know what it is that she needs to change. I told her that she knows the difference between right and wrong so focus on working on the wrong behavior regardless of the reward for doing so.
“But I don’t know which to change?”
“Change them all.”
“Ma, you know the difference between right and wrong. What are you doing that’s wrong?”
“I curse, I drink, I smoke but…”
“Start with those things. Change those.”
“I can’t change those. Why I gotta be perfect to have somebody? All these other people out here got somebody and they not perfect.”
“You will never be perfect either. The first thing to work on is looking at other people and what they have…”
“I’m too old for that. Its not like I’m having sex,” (cringe). “…or anything like that. I’m not killing nobody. I need something to do so I won’t lose my mind.”
We struggle with our own sum total of parts to find purpose in this life. Regardless of spirituality, personal montra or philosophy we all have an idea of right and wrong (barring any mental instabilities). What is the link that affords us the thinking that it is only beneficial to walk the right path if there is a pot of gold at the end?
I’m told not everyone can be as righteous as me. I don’t see myself as being righteous at all. I have demons. I have a very bad anger issue and I’m selfish to a fault but wouldn’t letting those things set me back be the ultimate #fail on my existence?
I don’t forgive because it the Godly thing to do. I forgive because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t choose to give the 10.00 in change back that I was erroneously handed, I give it back because it’s not mine. It doesn’t matter that the person next to me may get the same extra change and choose to keep it. It doesn’t matter that the person I forgave may choose to hurt me again, it was my choice to forgive them. I didn’t forgive them because the outcome, not being hurt again, was guaranteed.
If these reactions that we absorb ourselves in become the precursor to our choices, do we not dilude the very righteousness we hope to attain? If I cannot make a step without securing a safe path will I ever really go anywhere?
I don’t believe in God because my mom tells me too or because its the status quo. I believe in God for the trials and tribulations I believe he pulled me through. His existence is wrapped in my belief of his actions in my life. I follow what I believe to be the priniciples set in my heart by God because I choose to do so not because I fear hell if I don’t.
We persecute others when they follow a path we deem filthy or “bad”. What makes it bad is usually the consequences at stake from the choices being made. But how is that any different from someone who’s choices are outwardly filtered for public consumption when in their heart they seek the same outcome as the person on the filthy path? Where is the line?
My mom doesn’t want to live the rest of her life alone. But, she also doesn’t want to invest the effort it may take to change destructive habits that she’s piled-up over a lifetime. So what is the right thing to do?
Right and wrong, good and bad are all relative terms that give us the verbal ability to express acceptable, constructive and productive behavior compared to unacceptable, deconstructive, and unproductive behavior. Where we see the lines really come down to the effects they have on our lives. I don’t think the lesson my mom is learning has anything at all to do with finding a mate but whether you believe in God or the stars, something has lead her path to a crossroads and finding a mate is simply the motivation for the most productive choice.
She can choose to ignore it. We can choose to ignore it. the little voice egging us on, pushing us to do whats inherent, what’s “right”. We hate the responisbility, we hate the dedication and the effort it requires but our feelings about the choice has no consequence on the choice itself. It is apart of us. Ignoring it, abhoring it, loathing or lamenting it only affects us in the outcome. So we can make excuses for not doing it. We can say it’d be easier to be worse people but standing at the crossroads, searching for an outcome we both know, the right thing, once exposed to it, once encompassed or touched by it, is hauntingly inevitable because the wrong thing may be easier but the only the right will truly make you happy.