“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” ~Erma Bombeck
“Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.” Albert Schweitzer
I’m sure we have all heard the phrase, ‘What you don’t know won’t hurt you.’ Of course there are many ways to look at that. If we don’t know we are ill then it might hurt us. We could debate this for hours, but I believe that what we haven’t stopped to consider, will affect us in profound ways.
We are not far removed from the squirrels, birds and other animals we study as they search for food, mates, homes and security. I laugh at the birds visiting my feeder, as they fight to gain access to the food. One morning I remember saying out loud, “There is enough food why are they fighting instead of waiting?” Of course at that moment, I realized they were behaving just the same as people.From the time we are born, our parents strive to get us into the best schools they can afford. The search begins to enhance our chances, and our lives. We don’t question what does enhancement mean. We are told the bigger house, fancier car and multiple material gains are equivalent to success. Not having any other options or opinions available, we carry the myth forward, and work hard to gain more of everything. Few of us stop to consider why. Perhaps the questioning might lead us to question, what we don’t know and are not told.
When I was first married, I had the tiniest place, but I was thrilled with it and with my life. I planted about two flowers, in the smallest area anyone could own. The place was rented, but the simple gadgets we bought, were our own. It was home. As the years passed, we needed more room for the expanding family. We searched for a new place to live. That is when reality set in. It became paramount, according to the rules of society, to buy in the best town we could afford. Upon seeing the houses, it was clear that the more we were able to spend, the greater the quality of the house, and the more features it had. This seems like a simple economic lesson, yet to me, it felt like I was joining the human race and I mean race.
We bought a home, still live in it and happily raised our kids. I can recall numerous people bemoaning their stepping stone homes. Their dissatisfaction with their current place was obvious. It appeared so sad to me. How did they get up in the morning with a smile of contentment. Of course they didn’t. They were living in a fictional future world. They wanted certain items that they didn’t yet have and their whole energy was focused on the acquisition of such items. They were unhappy people. The end to the story is the marriage ended in a divorce, before the future house was bought.
I began to understand the race, when my child did not get accepted in the preschool of choice. I apparently did not apply soon enough. The place I sent him to was wonderful and I was blessed that he went to it. The struggles of maintaining the correct teachers, and staying abreast to make sure my kids were not overlooked, took a toll. People infringed on others sons and daughters. At long last I gave up the control, and went with the flow. I decided that everything was in God’s hands, and whatever happened was for the best. That was a liberating day. I continued to monitor my kids, and their work, but left the micromanagement to others.
I was not accepted into the top social circles in my area. I didn’t care, because with four kids I was too busy to care. I had to make an extra effort to find things out on my own, but somehow it always was okay. One of the teachers, considered to be horrible, unbeknownst to me, became one of my son’s best teachers. He still remembers her name.
Perhaps what I didn’t know hurt me, in the area of associating with people, who were considered the ruling group in town. My kids were also, not on the guest lists of the favored ruling school group. That is a truth, and people don’t like to hear it, but there has always been a division of players. We all know it, and know our place. Nobody tells you, it just happens.
My life raising kids was awesome. I spent time with my kids, and enjoyed being with them. I didn’t need others to confirm, what I thought was right or wrong. It was a long road, but I eventually trusted myself. We instilled virtues and values uncommonly mentioned. Taking myself out of the race, meant a certain amount of exclusion and missed celebrations. It also meant no pressure to be and act in ways I didn’t want.
If we had never seen another way of living, or viewed the material gains of others, we might never have even thought of their existence. When we are all bombarded with so many things we might purchase, it can leave us envious of others and without contentment. If we are constantly looking for more, to satisfy some uncontrolled desire, then we never notice what is in front of us, that is very cherished. In that case what we do know hurts us. We tend to be influenced by others. This leads us into devaluing, what we have within reach.
Some of us get caught up in the tidal wave of living unconsciously. Others encourage us, prod us, or flaunt in front of us. The resistance is hard. It requires some soul searching, to discover what is real, about us and our lives. When we cut the puppet strings from our lives, we learn to treasure the intangible possessions, that we cherish the most. Living is not aimlessly receiving more and more. Living is nurturing, loving, caring, respecting, displaying kindness, virtue, morality and spiritual growth. We have the choice to get off of the wheel, or keep running towards what we don’t know, that will hurt us in the end.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer
“The highest proof of the spirit is love. Love the eternal thing which can already on earth possess as it really is.” Albert Schweitzer
“Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.” Albert Schweitzer
“Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.” Anonymous
“Don’t ask if you are happy, ask yourself if your life has meaning.” Anonymous