Sunday, December 27, 2009
When you were a young child, you just didn't understand why people didn't do everything you wanted them to do. You definitely needed more attention in your youth; most others realized this, and they felt obliged to give into your wishes most of the time. In essence, you were spoiled. Most children are overindulged, and this behavior is commonly accepted and even respected as doting kindness.
Then, you began to mature, and you became less annoyed when others ignored your requests unless they happened to be in your close circle of friends. Still, while you were in the process of maturation, most of those closest to you frequently fulfilled your wishes as they understood your need for acceptance. They understood that in order to bolster your positive self-concept, they had to continue their contributions to your occasional whims and fancies. In fact, your best friends would often give in, regardless of their displeasure, to prove their allegiance.
But, somewhere along the line to adulthood and the forced responsibilities that accompanied growing older, you understood that fewer people shared your identical convictions and practiced your same behavior. As you became more independent, those around you began to judge you based on oceans of experience and familiarity. As your cradle became the classroom and suddenly the classroom became the world, you also began to understand that others saw granting your indulgences as less important. Human behavior and response followed their natural path as the gates to individualism swung wide.
One of life's hardest lessons became the old axiom: "Life doesn't owe you anything." And, this stark statement revealed its truth over and over until its ever-settling nature sank to its proper place on the bedrock of your ideals. Many other lessons about responsibility and initiative and justice soon tangled their lines of comprehension around this anchor of grim acceptance. You didn't really want to believe that loneliness was included in the bargain, and many didn't comprehend detachment's impact until their first touch of finality -- total rejection, tragedy, or death.
Grace and humility grew to become important, valued virtues after you became witness to the raw nature of your human condition. Displays of grace, freely given and often even unmerited, rekindled the spirits of favor and mercy seated deep within your system of values. The grace you received soothed many festering wounds that otherwise might have deepened; the grace you gave created new means of continued loving involvement.
However, humility was considered the first virtue inasmuch as it removed the obstacles to faith. It lessened your pride and made you a person subject to and a fit recipient of grace. And, humility prevented vanity from bloating your extended ego.While humility lowered these concepts of self-importance, it increased your wisdom and unity.
And, during the process of attending to the demands of increased involvement in the society, you decided to
solidify your plans for your personal satisfaction. At what point would you want others to do your will? How much of your dreams and hopes were you willing to call your own responsibility? And, what were you willing to sacrifice and endure to get what you wanted?
I believe people often use too much. They use excuses, resources, scapegoats, politics, religion, and other people for more instant gratification than at any other time I can recollect from my 59 years of memory. And, many people don't use these things in a communal sense at all. Their only measure of success is related to the power they can achieve through using the systems they instill in their lives. Success, to most, is measured in volumes of earthly attainments.
So many today look for a token of achievement or a reward of existence. They expect the "give me" for their choices. "Give me money, give me an easy way out, give me the answers, give me someone to complain about, give me an Amen for my religious fervor, give me anything I can manipulate for my own good." Aren't these people just like the infants I refer to in the first paragraph? Not everyone is going to be blessed with everything because they bleat like lost sheep. I've seen so much waste and so much mindless adherence that I wonder if the public can even reason without being prompted. Maybe a little personal responsibility would be a novel approach to the begging and blaming games.
Indeed, if you are poor, you are blessed. If you are lonely, you are blessed. If you feel you lack the benefits of privilege, you are blessed. Blessed also are the weak, meek, and mild-mannered. And still, humans somehow sympathize with those in these lesser states while stepping over them and carefully avoiding soiling their expensive garments in the process. Lip service blessings from those in positions above seldom drop to those closest to the cold ground. Maybe the true importance of life would be revealed to those above if the lessons of the disadvantaged could rise from the depths below.
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."