Lockdown Day 54 – 19 May 2020 – A Life That Matters

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is a Western movie with Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee van Cleef. The theme song must be one the most recognizable soundtracks in history, at least, I think so!

I have watched The Good, The Bad and The Ugly a few times. Clint Eastwood is Blondie, the Good. I always wonder about that. “Selling” Tuco repeatedly and freeing him repeatedly, how honest is that? And can I then still call him “good?”

My dad taught me “even in jail you find the good and bad.” Please note, we are not talking about guilty or not guilty. That is something else. We are talking good and bad. We classify some people as good and others as bad. The more people are like us, the more “good” they will be. The more people are different from us, the easier to classify them as “bad.”

Quite often, cultural differences may lead to these classifications. Will I eat a bat? No. Then again, when I am starving, I may eat anything. Will Chinese people eat bats like I eat chicken? Apparently, yes. That is my first thought, how do we determine who is good and bad? And are we sure our our plumb line is, you know, plumb? We are not allowing cultural differences to cloud our judgement about good or bad?

Harold Kushner’s book A Life That Matters, change the way I look at people. I am not reviewing the book here, but it is worth reading if you are asking what you can do so that your life matters.

My biggest lesson from this book, was the insight that we are all good and bad. (Here is the AND again). It is our good parts that cast the shadow. You cannot have light without a shadow.

It is exactly the thing that makes somebody (to use and example) a good lawyer, that makes him a “bad” husband or father! To change the shadow, you have to change the light! Do you want to change the light?

yin-and-yang

In the same way that Yin and Yang defines each other, our good and bad defines each other. This insight makes it a whole lot easier to accept people. Once I bought into this idea, I became much less critical and judgmental. I am more open to people and their ideas.

After all, I also have a shady side! I would like other people to make allowances for my shady side. Even if I try to lighten my shady side.

If people were good or bad, life would be simpler. But now we have an enriching AND. Now we have an amazing and enriching diversity. Not always easy, sometimes a challenge to love the one and live with the other!

That is where change happens! Growth happens. That, in my opinion, is where a life that matters happen!

WHAT WILL MATTER by Michael Josephson (c) 2003
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage,
or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

 

 

 

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