May 28th 2006

copyright© don oddy

~ judgment day ~

What makes us feel good about ourselves

What is life all about, especially our own? We wonder from birth to death if we are so disposed to make sense of the meaning of life. If we feel that way. If we feel there is a higher purpose than just living. For when we examine our lot in life we might be left wondering why? Why live at all.

It is easy to feel there must be something more to this endless turmoil from cradle to grave, that there is more to this endeavour we experience, that we make some sort of contribution more than the day to day. That we are more connected to the universe than just the hum drum thrum of living.

I say of course there is. Its obvious, and yet it is not. For we do forget the ultimate purpose of living is actually the experience we have when we consider that in some way our actual being here is more than it is, just the way it is today. Many feel more important, more connected to living if they fulfil some role grater than their actual being. Being a human and having this present day to live.

We all live day to day, we all make our mark on the world. We help or hinder our progress and the progress of others in their daily living. And beyond this we have profound effects on how we are developing as human beings, we add to the instincts, the intellect, the absorbed knowledge, the genetics of our races. We are adding inexorably to nature as we go.

We add drive and motivation, we set patterns for the future in our present behaviour. We change our normal as we live. We develop and make more of what we are.

And above all we have our own living and experience, to the good and less good, to pleasure and hard times. We get to know what we want from life and what mark we make on the world in what we do. We add our essence to this world. We donít make sense of some grand design, beyond our current moment. Or we imbue ourselves with importance which turns out to be insignificant in the long run of history which will forget us as individuals sooner rather than later.

Unless by some accident of birth, or some particular and peculiar quirk of fate, we will be more forgotten than remembered. There are few who have lived who will be recalled or remembered as time marches and we are gone. So we might consider our job on this planet in a more circumspect way. We might consider our job on this planet in this life to be simply the only and most precious we have.

We might be better able to live well and prosper by being the best living legend we can be, for ourselves and for those we love. For indeed we will make our contribution by what we do and we will live to our best living simply by being right sized about life. As God of your understanding intends and by our own good conscience. At the very least by our own good conscience, that which we all have, at least most of us seem to have.

In a meeting not many hours ago, the usual questions of our purpose came to a head. How we live well, how we get to make life what we can with any of the natural disasters we all face. From well being to ill health, from having something to do we value, from having children and being part of a family, from losing family and faith, from losing all dignity and having nothing.

And for some of us who have made good lives, how can it all disappear, faster than it took to make a life. How can this world be so cruel to allow us to make a life and then lose it, and still be alive to start a new one, a different one.

How do we get on in life when if we compare ours, they seem less than the life we might have, or the life we had, or the life of another. How do we feel good about a life we have, when it seems our lives are failing in some way. Because we donít do as well, we donít have as much or we just donít know for one reason or another what might be round the corner.

I am preoccupied with these questions sometimes, when I am asked what I do, what sense do I make of my world. And I really feel it is hard for me to compare my living to any other, for it does no good.

And as we rub along with everyone else, how do I judge myself and how do I judge others? Indeed should I be judging anyone else at all?

I am best able to judge my living by what I do, by what I am able to do. I am best able to judge the standard of my life by my standards. I am given opportunity each and every day. I have intent with good conscience to make my day work. I am powerless over most of my environment, the people I meet and what options are open to me. I am able to improve my opportunity simply by seeing the reality of this day, my personal choices and knowing that some elements of life are immutable and cannot be bent to my wilful desires.

I can enjoy this life I have, by making of it the best it can be. I can value this current day by endeavours which help me and my community. I can feel good about the day by just being me and having an open mind to potential and possibility.

I will make my life hell if I prescribe a day for myself, I aim too high, I make impossible dreams the standard. I make my life unworkable the moment I impose my will on my environment beyond personal choices made and negotiations exercised. For we need to share our aims, and choices with others and see where they may go.

Someone described a conversation they had with their daughter, who is a wonderful human being, healthy and worthy of all life has to offer. For a while she was driven to be like others, to have a man, to have children and have a life which looked as it might or should be. Yet life was not like that. No husband and no children, not the life that might be the stuff of dreams. The reality was quite different and quite a revelation. Without children, there was time for other matters and fulfilment came another way. Without a husband, there was time for another life and other happiness. And without the time to find and derive pleasure in the obvious, a happy life is being led, complete and happy in every way that matters. And what mattered was the content of life as is, not a life desired as an end in itself.

I find great understanding in this example of living. For I have no wife, not by choice, I have no children to call my own, not by choice, I live a different life from the usual, not by choice. I have several impairments which I am powerless over, not by choice. And out of all these differences from the average and standard others might judge, well they would judge to have their lives and to mine. Yet every day, I endeavour and find worth and value. Every day I connect with friends and find fellowship. Every day I am the company of women and love them, as one loves friendship I might add. And one day maybe I might fall in love and find a partner with the woman not of a dream, but from reality. And that day may or may not come. What matters to me is the life I lead in good conscience and to the best I can do. I lead a life quite different and find great value in my connection to a large community and most of all a connection with myself.

We are so often driven insane with a gap inside us which makes us feel awkward and without our own value. Yet when we stop measuring by an arbitrary standard, we start to find our own value, our real value. And when we stop judging our value by comparison to others and how they live, and ask ourselves how we make best use of our time each day, find we have great value and much time to our own unique outlook.

Judging ourselves is harsh in the light of what we see and what we think we should be, when we judge our day by our endeavour we might feel quite at ease with ourselves.

What really makes us unhappy is not loss or our own living, it is the comparisons and assumptions we make about what others have and what others judge us by. Better for inner peace, spiritual contentment in knowing we have made good use of our time and day. That we live inside our world with opportunity which is real and founded on our present connections. That we do endeavour to learn and think of a vision consistent with our real potential, and forget pipe dreams and examples beyond most peoples wildest dreams and opportunity. Better to enjoy living and connection, better to be absorbed in good conscience and good endeavour.

I could say, I would say that wouldnít I. Because its easy when I have had a life which has been full of great things and power and position and Ö now I have lost everything, then found something.

What have I lost in the grand scheme? If ever there was a grand scheme, I have lost everything which got in my way. I have lost obsession, I have lost material wealth, I have lost everything by which I can judge myself against others and others can judge me.

I find out of nothing comes something, that something is today, to make it good, to make it full of joy, and as full of sadness as the world will bring my way. I am able to be the equal of my endeavour and I am not plagued by measure or appraisal. I work hard to live, as best I can and be a part of society and community. I make better choices. I appreciate beauty, adore the people I encounter, despise the behaviour of some, welcome the behaviour of most. I make choices to be involved and committed to my fellowship and helping others, usually by just turning up, because I never know how I might be of help.

I know we can measure ourselves, be full of desires which donít make sense and cannot ever happen, that we can be full of denial about our real value and worth. I have seen my life for what it was and what it is today. Now that is my good fortune.

And if you were to judge my life with yours, there is no way on earth you would want mine. I manage my life a day at a time, I love and appreciate company and am happy alone, I get great satisfaction being interested and contributing to the world as a single individual, I feel good when I am in harmony with my environment and my body and most important my spirit and good conscience.

So what did I learn from living today, to make as best of it what I can, for tomorrow is beyond and history is written. With my clinical conditions and life itself, there will certainly times of great depression, not today, today was a great day and beyond my wildest dreams. It was an ordinary day! Amen to that day.

Copyright © Don Oddy