Friday, February 27, 2009

Bless The Beasts and the Children

I recently finished the novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” I might be the only person in the world that found this book neither enjoyable nor profound. However, there was one part though that I thought was interesting:

"True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test, consists of its attitude toward those who are at its mercy: animals.”

I agree completely. It seems to me the best part of humanity is revealed in our charity to others weaker than we are. It’s when we have nothing to gain from helping the other person, except of course for the affirmative feeling of having done something good. (This reminds me of this Friends episode where Phoebe tries to do selfless acts of charity without receiving anything in return. In the end she fails because she feels good about being the cause of another person’s happiness.)

Ego aside, most of the acts of kindnesses we do are because we expect something nice in return. I send Christmas cards to people I either would like to receive cards from or have already received one from them. I write emails for the same reason.

The beauty of loving child or pet is that they really can’t do much in return for all that we give them. The vast disparity in ability, power and social standing truly places them on the lowest rung of society.

You may recall Jesus’ thoughts on the subject; “Blessed are the beasts and the children for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” I believe, with his many statements concerning the poor and helpless, the disenfranchised, he would be less interested in the “trickle-down economics” and tax breaks and he’d be all over directly helping those are in need. This is yet another reason I agree with Obama's hopeful, optimistic call to try to turn the world around.

So if you feel that in your life you aren’t being “spiritually fed,” I suggest you do what my pastor said recently. “Take off the bib and put on the apron!” There’s a world out there in need of what only you can do! Let’s each do our part to make the world a better place.

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