Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Enlightenment (hurts)

Yesterday, I had an epiphany about the nature of goodness and the costs of doing the right thing.

In the course of a meeting, I found out that by doing right by me, some one brought himself a lot of grief and quite a few brickbats thrown his way.

And this revealed to me the larger reason why my sons have such a hard time, why I am required to dole out the stinkeye with almost alarming regularity--doing the right thing, in this world anyway, brings little reward, or at the very least, little instant gratification and incentive to do more.

If you're thinking "Well, DUH!", try to see this from my (granted, limited) perspective. I've always done the right thing as a matter of course--not that there's any merit to my goodness, it's almost like that's just the way I'm wired. I'm just realizing that a vast majority of people are not wired the way I am.

I'm not sure the way this person is wired; he may be dissuaded from doing what he did ever again because of what it cost him. Because, as I am finding out the hard way, that's the way a vast majority of people are wired. Path of least resistance. Don't go against the grain. Don't draw any attention to yourself. And for God's sake, don't do anything that will draw the wrath of others.

So that's why I continue to intercede on behalf of my sons. But I sit here realizing that this will be never ending. Unless, of course, my kids encounter people like I have who are willing to take a brickbat for them.

But, if there's nothing in it for them, why would anyone do that?

My thoughts turn back to Fr M, who came over for dinner with us the other night, a wounded healer, like myself, who understands what he needs to do, does it, but occasionally fights it, because that's what we who struggle daily with pride do. I'm understanding now that the warmth of that evening, as beautiful as that was, is a reminder of what I am here for. And there is nothing warm and fuzzy about doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is difficult and largely thankless.

But I must continue to lead by example. And when I see some one doing good, I have to make it a point to acknowledge it.

Possibly, it's the only way I can keep it going.

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