December 19


Today's quotation:

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.

German saying

Today's Meditation:

Oh, the things that we value!  How many people do you know who put their highest priorities on their wealth, whatever form it may take, rather than their character?  There are many people in this world who think that losing their collections of something-or-another would devastate them, would turn them into something less than they are, so they protect them at all costs.  They identify with their wealth, whether it be in the form of money or baseball cards or cars or property.

But when all is said and done, it all comes down to who we are inside.  I like to think of how I would react if our house were to burn down and leave nothing to salvage.   I'd like to think that my response would be much like Emerson's when his house burned down-- he told a friend that the flames were quite beautiful, and they should enjoy them while they were there.  He was aware that all of his writings that were in the process of being lost, as well as all of the work that he had put into creating them, meant very little at the moment.  What mattered was who he was as a human being.  The rest could be replaced, for the most part, but his own self could not be.

I also think sometimes of what life would be like if I were to have an accident that left me paralyzed, such as what happened to Christopher Reeve.  How would I respond, especially in the long term?  Would I still feel balanced?  Would I still love life every day?  I can't know, of course, but I do know that I do my best to spend more time developing myself than I do trying to amass wealth of any material sort.  I also do my best to maintain my health, for much of my character develops from the way I treat myself, and I want to treat my body with dignity and respect.

Questions to consider:

How would you react if your house burned down and left nothing?

How can we distinguish our character from other parts of ourselves? 

Do you treat yourself with dignity and respect?  How will your character grow if you don't?

For further thought:

Material possessions will rust away, wear away, or depreciate, but your inner resources--  character-- must never depreciate.  In seeking success you must also seek fulfillment.  Ask yourself not only what you want to be, but who you want to be.

Elizabeth Dole

more thoughts and ideas on character



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