Retaining a heart of gratitude is easy, when things are in abundance.
Charting a new course feels light, when burdens are less.
Maintaining integrity is manageable, when surrounded with people likewise.
However, such privileges are not universal, especially when ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ becomes mainstream. Hence, some go tactical by avoiding toxic people just to stay ahead. Yet, there are always times that demand contact with disruptive behaviors. So, the question now becomes, “How would you carry yourself in such situations?”
Situation A: On the Road
In some places, rule observance is honored (generally) to prevent confusing expectations and unnecessary risks. In other places, rules serve as an ‘authoritative’ guide for individual discretion, except when risks turn into harms. When exceptions happen, it is the fault of the ones causing them, because they are not street-smart enough.
At Place A, passing on the slow lane is illegal; At Place B, passing on both lanes is more than about legality but a norm. Not surprisingly, such behaviors go beyond the roads, but everyday life. Get ahead because it is a need, because such is a norm, and because I was not caught. One could make a joke that “Arriving at your destination ahead of the car in front of you is the most important rule. All other rules are subservient to this sacrosanct rule.”
Speed limit? Play it safe or pay safe. One-way lane? When there is no cars. Traffic light in yellow? Better speed up. (……etc.)
Melody in a City Hustle
Among the noise and rush of a crowded place, there is a gentle whisper. The whispering melody is tender, but enigmatically ethereal (mystically perfect & delicate for this world). It did not stop the busyness of the streets, but it instantly awakes the soul that has been dreaded by one matter after another, from a Whack-A-Mole game where one just keeps on hitting the mole that emerges at one hole after the other at an unceasingly faster rate.
At a place where problems seem to abound, role models are hardly within reach. What is less-than-normal becomes the normal, perceived and accepted as a ‘humane’ compromise. At one spot, the blame game gets fury; At another spot, helplessness is a true state.
However, what is right is never lost. What is honorable is not buried. A little step back in sync with the melody recalls what is proper and virtuous. It brings back a sense of integrity, like the heart and mind were never separate as two.
Salt & Light, Ambassadors of Christ
It was, maybe, easier to keep a heart of gratitude when life was at its peak. Generosity, was out of the excess. Defining one’s course was perhaps, less burdensome with lesser weights on the shoulders. If recognitions and affirmation come from the people around, the path would be much broader than it needs to be.
Yet, one thing is for sure. Without a clear mind, innocence and wisdom are sound qualities but practiced poorly. We, can never truly stand alone, unless we abide by His word. For He says,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” — John 15:5
And so does the church which you and I constitute:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” — 1 Peter 2:9
When life gets the better of you again, steer calmly and get in check with His word. Godspeed!