Enough to be a good person, at least. I’ve always felt my values were more or less in the right place. I’ve always lived a kind of pseudo-Christian life. But what about the OTHER person? What guides his or her behavior or what limits it, at least?
You never really know until that other person gets a chance to hurt you. When you make yourself vulnerable in marriage, friendship, business, etc. you hope the people you are engaged with are decent, reasonable people. But you never really know. And you’d be surprised how some of your friends and family members might behave when given a little bit of power.
So, a few questions to ask yourself. What guides human behavior? What constrains it in the absence of God or a religion? The answer to the former is typically selfishness, the latter, not much. You may say you’re a “good person” who is governed by “logic and reason,” but what is logical and reasonable to you may not be to the next person. And either way, how do you articulate this to a young person? How do you pass the values of “logic and reason” on to the next generation? WHAT do you pass on to the next generation?
When the proverbial sh#t hits the fan in life, who are you dealing with? Is it a loyal and decent person whose values can be trusted or a selfish, egotistical manipulator like the devil.
Mornings, for a Christian, are a new opportunity to contribute to the world. For example, this morning (5/13/19) I may have saved a woman’s life. It was raining when I was about one block from my office and noticed a car coming into the intersection after the light had changed. Simultaneously, a woman standing next to me wearing a hooded raincoat that blocked her vision stepped out and started walking into the intersection, not seeing the car. As I saw this unfold, I yelled out, “Watch out! Watch out!” The woman stopped, looked over at me, and the car whizzed by within a couple of feet of her.
I didn’t intend to save a person’s life today. It just happened because I am continually aware of the world around me and generally walk around exhibiting my Christian instincts. A Christian starts his day with a positive attitude, an optimism for the day and the world in general. He sees every day as a new opportunity to show the world what it means to be a good Christian. Even when everyone around is kind of a bummer, his optimism and enthusiasm are infectious. I say this as someone who is not very positive by nature, believe me. Sometimes you have to fake until you make it. Or else, honestly, people won’t want to be around you very much.
So he wakes up early, makes time for prayer and meditation, makes time for the important things in life- God, family, relationships- and goes on his way.
In your own life, see if you can change any depressing culture you encounter whether it’s your sad, boring office or a gathering with your relatives. Maybe create a new family tradition? Don’t wait for others to fix things or make things better, take action yourself. You may save a life or more likely, many lives.
From time to time each of us gets bogged down in negative thinking. It’s inevitable. We may be sick of our job or in a dying or stagnant relationship and uncertain about the future. Here are 5 things to do when you’re feeling stuck:
1) Go on a retreat. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used to advise harried people to go on a retreat annually to make time to reflect and step out of the rat race.
2) Travel. It never hurts to get a change of scenery for at least a few days to get you out of a negative pattern of thinking.
3) Talk to a therapist or a life coach. Men tend to be hesitant to do this. It is expensive and it can feel like a waste of time, but it’s important to check in with a professional from time to time.
4) Take some tests. Aptitude tests and personality tests can help you figure out what is holding you back. A few that I’ve benefited from over the years are:
We live at by far the greatest time in human history. Those of us in the advanced world can listen to ANY SONG we want to at anytime. The same with most books and many movies. A city-dweller can order food, alcohol, cannabis, sex, candy, just about anything you can think of at pretty much any time of day. This is a tremendous danger to people who lack discipline.
Thankfully my own indiscipline largely extends to eating junk food, not exercising, and wasting time on Twitter. For many, the indiscipline starts with how you look at the world and what you expect to come from it. It’s better to expect nothing and seek to create that which you desire.
In this era of instant gratification, a lack of discipline can ruin your life. Whether it is poor habits of self-care or not adequately maintaining order around you. Indiscipline makes every problem worse.
After 40 years of searching for meaning everywhere and anywhere else, I finally found it. It was right there alongside me the whole time in the form of my many family and friends who have modeled Catholicism so beautifully. Thank you and God bless you all. Happy Easter!