June 13      

Today's quotation:

And when we come to think of it, goodness is uneventful.  It does not flash, it glows. It is deep, quiet, and very simple.  It passes not with oratory, it is commonly foreign to riches, nor does it often sit in the places of the mighty:  but may be felt in the touch of a friendly hand or the look of a kindly eye.

David Grayson

Today's Meditation:

This might be a nice eulogy for me:  "He was a good person."  Would that be enough?  I'm not sure that I qualify as a truly good person, as I can think of many situations in which I haven't done the thing that I know to be good, either out of fear or anger or lack of confidence.  I do know, though, that I would like to be thought of as good, and if that's the case then I need to make goodness a very high priority in my life.  I need to do the good things:  I need to forgive, I need to listen, I need to be fair, I need to encourage, I need to be honest in my words and my dealings with the world.

Sometimes we start to think that goodness needs to be flashy or highly visible.  After all, goodness sells, doesn't it?  Many books and coffee cups are sold with words that encourage people to be good, and many television shows and movies are made about people doing "good" things (though their motives don't always seem to be in line with their words and actions).

I think that the most important test of goodness really does come from our motives.  To me, the only reason for doing good is to do good.  If our motive is to receive praise or pay or compliments for our good acts, then we haven't done good at all-- we've simply manipulated other people into thinking that we deserve their praise.  Good acts can be rewarded, of course, but they're only good acts when the motive for them is not at all selfish.  One of my concerns about the television shows that have people going around doing great things for other people is that the shows are made with one major purpose:  to sell advertising, and the audiences now have a flawed idea of what true goodness is.

I want to be good.  I don't know if I live up to that desire, but I try.  And I think that each day I get a bit closer.  I would like to reach the last day of my life and know that somewhere, someone would be moved to say, "he was a good man."  And that no one else would be moved to say, "Boy, he had you fooled, didn't he?"

Questions to consider:

What does goodness mean to you?

How do we become good people?  Through acts or intention, or both?

What are some things that we can do to spread goodness in the world?
For further thought:

Goodness consists not in the outward things we do, but in the inward thing we are.  To be good is the great thing.

Edwin H. Chapin

more on goodness



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