2.21.2009

A Soul Lost at Sea

There was once a time when people did the right thing just because they knew they should.  Not because of selfish desires, but because they wanted to be good when no one is looking, making sure that they were following the minumum requirements for the social acceptance regime that encompassed them.  There was a time when being good meant helping the proverbial old lady across the street.  Now...the old lady is grumpy because the government hasn't issued her social security check yet and the young man who would have helped her is to busy changing songs on his ipod.  There was a time when honor was the most sought after commodity, when someone doing well meant they had worked hard, not stepped on the "little people" to get to the top by means of trickery and lies.

Was there a time like that?  Or do we just wish there was a time like that?

A few days ago after a large windstorm I was walking through an area that was mostly clear with the exception of a few trees.  There was one tree in particular that caught my attention, for it had fallen.  This was no sappling: it was about three feet in diameter.  As I stared at this tree in awe, I walked close for a better angle and more acute examination.  Upon doing so, I noticed that the entire core of the tree was rotten and almost entirely hollow.  I never would have known it had the wind not come.

Do you get it?  Imagine instead of "tree" you inserted a person's name.  Let that sink in.

Where are the heroes?  Where are the role models that capture our hearts by their selfless deeds and quick responses?  When did the idea of the "satisfaction of a job well done" get shot to hell?  Was it when the credit card's minumum payment came out, showing us that we really don't need to be responsible with our money, only paying a much lower amount than we owe?  Was it when our fathers stopped telling us that honest, hard working money is more admirable than a well paying, deviously made money?  Or when our mothers stopped teaching us the values of being respectful and using manners?

Is it possible to be one's own hero?  Can you look up to yourself?  When running a race by yourself, can you win or lose?  Most runners race not to beat the other people, but to beat their previous records.  Can we live the same way, trying to be better than we were yesterday?

I have found that no one person is good comparison, save for Jesus.  He's kinda an exception.  Every one scews up, and usually pretty badly from time to time.

There are three things now: the one who tries to be the hero, the one who admires the hero, and the one who wants to watch the hero burn.  What I find most interesting is that most often, these are all the same person.