“I’ve been to Hollywood, I’ve been to Redwood, I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold, I’ve been in my mind, It’s such a fine line, That keeps me searching for a heart of gold” Neil Young
Above all things in life being a good person is the loftiest goal and should be one’s priority.
When I went to engineering school I joined a fraternity. Part of our pledging was to interview the brothers of the fraternity. One question we needed to ask was why did they attend the engineering school. The answer was almost one hundred percent the same, to make a lot of money. At the school, I also got involved with the development department or fundraising. I met successful and wealthier alumni. They were quite the boor consistently talking about themselves. None seemed very happy.
When I went from high school to college I had a great awakening. So much of what I was told in life, I discerned as lies. Money will make you happy is clearly one tenet I came to reject. Money may provide luxuries and can assist one in life but its presence is no guarantee of happiness. In fact, the opposite is true, that the chasing of money will destroy your life.
While in engineering school I asked the big questions. What is life all about? Why is there so much pain and suffering? Why is there so much hatred and war? I also tried to find my role inside on this Earth. What was my purpose? To succinctly put it I found the answer in the faith of Jesus Christ and at the core of that faith was understanding that my highest calling was to be a good person. To treat everybody, regardless of economics, race or religion with compassion and love.
During this crisis in college, I began to suffer from mental illness. This only exasperated my search for truth and meaning in life. Also due to hospitalizations, I was derailed from a normal life. I spent several years drifting in and out of hospitals. Once my life was stabilized I have never been quite the same. But its alright because I have the answers to the fundamental questions. Even now when my soul gets vexed the same questions pop up to disturb me. But the trepidation is short lived as my answers swiftly destroy any disturbance. So many put off the hard questions and death comes before they begin to understand the meaning of the life they had just finished.
So what is the key to being ‘a good person?’ A good place to start is ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you.’ How do you like to be treated? What makes you happy? You like people to remember your name, don’t you? If you were in the place of the person you were talking to how would you like your own actions. Sad as it may seem, many people do not stop to consider the humanity of others, especially those employed in lower paying jobs.
I have witnessed this time after time again. Whether it be at the bank the grocery store, the restaurant or even the gas station. People will treat others as if they are automatons there to do their bidding, in the process neglecting the humanity in the interaction. This arrogant, condescending behavior goes a long way toward making life miserable for people both on ends of the interaction. A simple hello, how is your day going, travels a long way. Conversely bullying and putting others done is simply a sign of a person who isn’t doing well in life at all.
We need to recognize that we share this Earth and that we were created to be our brother’s keeper. If we put the value of human beings in front of the value of material possessions life on planet Earth would dramatically improve. We need to lose our greed and replace it with simple kindness. The wars of the United States to secure the resources of foreign nations must come to an end before the wars end us. You in your little microcosm can do a great service to humanity by just treating others right. Be the example, there is power in the example. Say hello, smile and be kind in word and deed it is the formula for a good life.
Please check out my books, in particular, “More Than The Madness,” my memoirs of how I successfully fought my mental illness. https://amzn.to/2GZuQUN
Photos by katerha,