Please excuse my being excited, everyday feels like Christmas to me… and like Charles Dickens’ ‘Scrooge’, I just can’t help it. And like him, I don’t deserve it.
I’ve got a beautiful wife and three kids who love me – at least on my good days. Yet, that hopeful light, still within me, is less bright these days because of disappointments… both man-made and otherwise. I ask, “How could that be, and still remain happy?” Am I oblivious to people’s suffering; or, looking through rose-coloured glasses at our pandemic world? Is it right to feel up, when so many are down?
But, for lack of kindness, this is still a beautiful world, but it’s trying hard not to be. This planet and its people are like a beautiful garden that need constant care to offset the neglect and open hostility towards it. Yet, among the desperately poor and sick, it was Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said the greatest disease is that of being unwanted. Plus, what about disappointments within our own lives? According to her, much of it results from selfishness – selfish with our time, our money, our love… always wanting our own sweet way.
I’ll never be a saint or a shaker-and-mover in the world at large, yet the crazy thought I still might, betrays me. But, I can be kind and forgiving – to family, friends and strangers – not expecting anything in return. I guess that’s doing something. For one thing, it’s making me happy. And, like Christmas, every gift of respect and understanding – given or received – is special.
Never-the-less, one of my greatest regrets, involved my days with Dale Carnegie – a great organization that offers human relations training programs on getting along with others. Since I had taken the program years earlier, and believed in its worth, I thought I would be a natural fit. The problem was that the local franchisee was managed by someone who wasn’t into me, and vise-versa. So, after months of trying everything to build common ground, I quit.
The irony of this situation was not lost on me. But, after a while, it just took on a life of its own. It’s true, failure hurts, but lessons must be learned.
And, committing to doing things differently is only the first step. Finding how you can help the aggrieved, with kindness, is the real magic. Life may feel like you’re caressing a porcupine, but that’s our task if we want to make a positive difference
“Well, I know what’s right /
I’ve got just one life.
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around / Gonna stand my ground.”
~ Wont Back Down by Tom Petty
It may be, I’m an acquired taste… maybe, I should just shut up and listen. Okay. Yet, some people try to coverup a multitude of sins by saying, “It’s just business.”
However, as Scrooge was reminded, mankind is our business – nothing else. And, if it all gets to be too much, we can always remind ourselves what’s at stake: our true ‘net worth.’
Guest Author Bio
Fred Parry lives in Southern Ontario. He is a lover of people and a collector of stories, music, wisdom, and grandchildren. His raison d’etre? “I’m one of those people who believe that if my work serves the common good, it will last; if not, it will die with me. As a freelancer – including ten years as a Torstar columnist – I still believe that’s true.” His book, ‘The Music In Me’ (2013) Friesen Press is also available via Indigo / Chapters.
Blog / Website: www.fredparry.ca