It’s Sunday and I’ve been to church and listened to 2 sermons so I suppose I’m in a reflective mood. I recently wrote a blog post about what I wanted to do and be when I was younger. Today I feel chastened and humbled. So many of my dreams and desires are about me, about my glory, about what I want. It strikes me that however I dress it up I am a selfish person.
We all feel that need to leave a legacy, to make our mark on the world, to know that we mattered. I feel this need sometimes is overwhelming and all-consuming. It shouts about me, me , me. It leaves no room for other people and their desires. It leaves barely any room for God and His desires. I’m embarrassed to tell you that often my first response to a situation is what’s in it for me? What will I get out of it?
I’m a Christian, I’m supposed to live for others but it seems that is an art I need to practice. I am not there yet, nor will I be this side of Heaven. My eldest daughter has always wanted to be a teacher but she told me recently she wants to practice teaching somewhere worthwhile. For her this implies Africa or Iraq or Afghanistan. She too wants to make a difference, she too wants to make her mark but for unselfish reasons. I am so proud of her and I love her so much…. yet selfishly I don’t want her to go. I don’t want her to go to a war-torn dangerous country where she is at risk of a myriad of scenarios. Ultimately when she is older I won’t be able to stop her. I’m still praying though that she will change her mind, because I want to keep her with me out of selfishness. I could say it’s a natural motherly response and parade it as concern but the real truth is I’m thinking of what I want.
Today is Remembrance Day. A day where we give a pitiful moments silence to remember all those who fell in various wars so we could be at liberty. We pray for and remember their families. They are the heroes. The bible says “Greater love has no man than this that he lays down his life for his friends”. These heroes are all someone’s son or daughter or husband or wife or parent. The only difference between them and me is they put their money where their mouth is. They stand up for their causes. They act unselfishly, because there was a moment in their life that made them so. WB Yeats in his poem “An Irish Airmen foresees his death” speaks of ” a lonely impulse of delight led to this tumult in the clouds”. They act on their moments. They seize their days and for that we are truly grateful.
How different might my life be if I stopped being selfish, if I truly started living for others? If I too seized my day? It will not be easy, nothing worth having is ever easy but it will be so worth it.
Do it for those who have no voice, who cannot speak out against injustice, for those who are trodden on and lay in the mud unable to get up, dying where they lay.
I know, I have digressed again. My regular readers will know how likely I am to go off on tangents. I’m not writing this to slate myself. We can all do better. We can all change. The only thing necessary is to want to.
Till next time.