January 13

You have not lived a perfect
day, even though you have
earned your money, unless
you have done something
for someone who will never
be able to repay you.

Ruth Smeltzer


Today's Meditation:

It seems counter-intuitive, how our societies constantly focus on "return" for our investments of money, time, work, or even play.  We're taught that whatever we do, we should get something out of it, be it money, better fitness, stronger relationships with business partners, or the like.  But what about the things that we do that give us no return at all, except perhaps a sense of satisfaction, or even the knowledge that we've done something good for someone else?

I'm not sure that I agree completely with Ruth.  I can spend "perfect" days alone, even, when I don't have opportunities to do things for others.  But for the most part, she makes sense.  And the things that we can do for others are innumerable, and they don't have to be world- or life-changing things at all.  Perhaps letting a car in during heavy traffic, or letting someone who's obviously in a hurry pass me in the supermarket checkout line, or giving directions to someone who seems lost.

We don't do such things to make our own days better.  If that's our motivation, then it's flawed.  We do such things because we see a need and we try to fulfill it--simply because that's what human beings do for each other.  We're all in this thing called life together, and just as we try to help a teammate so that the whole team's experience is more positive, we need to help each other to brighten this world.  We can brighten the world one tiny flame at a time--they don't have to be bonfires. 

Make your day perfect.  Do some kindness for someone else, and don't let them know you've done it.  Do some kindness for someone who doesn't have the resources to pay you back (but don't hold it over their heads!).  As long as we focus on doing good for others, good will come back to us, and for us, and our days will be wonderfully perfect.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things could you do today for others, without any thought of repayment?

Why do the people in our societies teach us about the importance of "return" on our investments and actions? 

How would you define a "perfect" day? 

For further thought:

Even if it's a little thing, do something for those
who have need of help, something for which you
get no pay but the privilege of doing it.

Albert Schweitzer


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