I don’t understand it and haven’t for the totality of my life. For some people, it’s effortless – like breathing itself. They wake up and every day from moment their eyes open to the moment they close they do this. Every moment, every day, every year! A life time. They are….a good person.
Years ago when I was vetching with a friend about hard life was she looked at me with her iron grey eyes and told me the secret to life. She said, and I quote, “I think the most you can expect of yourself and any one else in life is to try to be a good person. If you lay your head on your pillow at night and know that at least you tried; then it’s job well done.”
That little diatribe hit me like a ton bricks. For years I had been layering religion, societal norms and personal expectations upon personal expectations upon my sizable shoulders in an effort to be acceptable – a good husband, a good father, friend and co-worker. Little did I know how easy it could be or…..how hard.
How hard because for me this simple goal carries with it enormous effort. Why is it so hard for me to do this and for others so seemingly easy? The close friends I have had over the years who I consider extraordinarily good people are quite maddening to me; Al, Steven, my wife Lynn, Nicole, Conner, my brother Hank, brother in law, Brian…the list goes on and on. Why so easy for them and in turn extremely hard for me. The most obvious answer is organized religion but some on the list are not religious in the least and a few even agnostic.
Maybe it’s not easy for them. Maybe they make it look easy. Maybe their DNA is different. I really don’t have an answer. I do know I can’t give up.
So every day despite my sinful nature I get up and walk Lenny and let him know that today I will try to be good person. If it is indeed harder for me than others then may be the joy is more as well. When I lay my head on my pillow that’s what I’ll think about tonight.
All is written by one hand – Paulo Coelho