This is the second guest essay by a very dear friend of mine. I can only hope, one day, to be able to express sentiments such as this as eloquently as she. Enjoy this, every word, for all it’s worth. I sincerely hope there will be a “#3” and more. Thank you, M’Lady!
Where’re We At?
I was born to white parents. I’m grateful for being alive even though I didn’t ask for it. I apologize to no one for the circumstances of my birth. I had not one thing to do with it. My personal responsibility started when I drew my first breath. It is the same for every single one of us. If you believe differently, you’re being sold a bill of goods. Don’t fall for it.
I hold some very strong beliefs. They are solid because they are indisputably true. One of my favorites is: It is not the circumstances we face but the choices we make. What a beautifully crafted statement. What makes one man cheat on his wife while another does not? What makes one person who needs money rob a bank, cook meth, steal from the church building fund, while another gets a second job? What makes people loot and steal in a crisis instead of reaching a hand out to their fellows already in trouble? Those actions are the product of choices. Good or bad.
Thoughts without action don’t have much power. You may consider yourself a good person. Thinking you’re something doesn’t make it so. If you’re not actively doing good, guess what? You’re not really good. We all have hardship. We all have set- backs. We all have times when we don’t feel loved and appreciated. It all comes down to how we choose to deal with it.
I don’t like being told what to do. Part of the reason for this is I don’t, or won’t, give up my responsibility for thinking for myself. Deciding what is right or wrong can be a heavy load but I willingly accept that burden for the right of my personal freedom. I’m not talking about laws in a civilized society, or the requirements for carrying out my job for my employer and the like. I’m talking about being coerced to buy a certain product, paint my house a certain color, express my spirituality in a certain way, destroy another person or their property, or merely go along to get along.
Each of us has a talent, skill, ability, etc. We are not the same. The differences between each of us can be vast. And yet, we share so much more that is the same. No child has ever been born without a conscience. And yet, how many of us follow along with the crowd giving nary a thought to the consequence of our actions to others and ultimately, ourselves?
Being social creatures, it is natural that we form groups. While the feeling of belonging is inherent to humans it is within groups that we can sometimes experience either our greatest achievements or our most abject failings. The singular most important element to keep keenly within our focus is our ability to think for ourselves. Once we abdicate our willingness to be responsible for what we think, we have undoubtedly made a bad choice. In doing so, we have given others the power to make decisions for us. We have given tacit or overt approval for them to direct our life course instead of being the captain of our own ship. If you care where that ship is headed why would you allow someone else at the wheel?
Written by C. T. Peterson 9/2/2017