A few weeks ago as I ambled along the golden sands of (in my humble opinion) the most beautiful islands in the world, (The Islands of the Bahamas) I stumbled onto a sandcastle. This was not your ordinary, archetypal sandcastle sculpted using the minuscule phalanges of an adolescent boy or girl. This sandcastle’s architecture easily rivaled that of the Windsor Castle in Berkshire England, which served as the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As I stood and watched as the waves inched closer and closer to the Krptonian fortress of solitude, I could not help but think of the parable of the fool that built his house on sand.
In the parable the wise man build his house on a rock. When the rains and wind came the house stood firm. However, a foolish man built his house on sand. The rains and winds blew and beat against that house and if fell with a great crash.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21
How often do we find ourselves caught up directing all our energy towards building up an abundance of treasure that will only rot, be plundered, or left behind once we exit this world? We tend to become so consumed trying to win first prize in this treasure hunt that we get tangled in the tightly spun web of materialism. We want the lavish homes, cars, and designer clothes that serve as status symbols. We should treasure having moral fiber, character, doing good will, and helping those we can. These actions define a legacy that will last long after your days are numbered on the earth.
Don’t build up treasure that will be swept away with the tide once your wave of life goes out!
“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” – Confucius
About a month ago I found myself in the middle of a unique exchange. I made the health-conscious decision to walk down the plethora of stairs that led to my destination rather than taking the elevator. After getting mentally prepared for the arduous task I now faced, I decided to commence with my descent. As I was making my way down the stairs an acquaintance of mine began making her way up the same stairs. She’s normally a happy go lucky, outgoing and rambunctious lady. However, something didn’t seem right. I had no way of deciphering what or if something occurred that caused the Learjet that is her day to go uncontrollably spiraling downward. As our separation distance shriveled down to that of the length of a five dollar footlong sub; I did what I thought was best. I simply gave her a hug. No words, no interrogation, just a compassionate embrace. Immediately, a tsunami like flow of tears disgorged from her eyes onto my shoulders. She later proceeded to divulge an abundance of details about her life that she hadn’t shared with anyone.
“A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward.” – William John Bennett
We all had moments in in which we ignored or chosen not to be bothered with the plight of those around us. We inhabit a world in which demonstrations of compassion has become as rare as red diamond. We all can do a better job being sensitive to the needs of those around us.
A simple conversation, lending an ear, or even a hug can serve as the salt needed to add an explosion of flavor to an individual’s dish of life!
I found myself in a conversation with a friend who recently experienced a loss in the family. We have all been impacted by its untimely, unfair and ruthless nature in some way, shape or form. Death occurs in so many forms; natural disasters, illness, trauma, war, etc. No matter how fast we try to run from death, we cannot cheat or escape it. Whenever I receive news of this nature from friends or colleagues I struggle because I never know what to say. I perform several sifts through the frontal lobe of my brain in an attempt to find comforting words to say. What do you say to someone that has just experienced a loss? Are there right words to say?
Of course there is the typical response: “I’m sorry for your loss. I offer my condolences to you and your family”. This response is usually initiated or followed with a hug or handshake of some sort. Those words are of good intent but they won’t automatically or immediately extract the pain one is experiencing from his or her loss. A greater influx of genuine compassion is needed to help these individuals. We also should pray for the person, be supportive of them during the time of mourning, lend them our shoulder if they need one to cry on, and help them any way we can.
“Tis after death that we measure men” – James Barron Hope
We as humans have no clue when our time on this earth will end. However, we have an opportunity while we are alive to do great things and leave an indelible mark in this world. How do you want to be measured?
Define your legacy such that it would be one that would be put on display as opposed to one that would be swiftly disposed.