Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Keeping Score

To my son Tommy,

Too many people count their accomplishments, the good things they do and the bad things they avoid, and expect this running tally to somehow shield them from the struggles of life. They use it to say, "I am a good person. Why is this happening to me?" or "I am not a bad guy. Why doesn't this stuff happen to those types?" I suppose it is human nature to keep score in all transactions and relationships of life to give us a sense of equity and make sure we are getting a fair shake,

But here is the catch, life is usually not fair. It doesn't care that you have given to a good cause in the past week. Brought a meal to a neighbor in need? That's nice. Didn't commit a crime? Good on you! In the grand scheme of things, doesn't mean you deserve a free ride. All that counting just makes you realize how unfair life can be and puts you in the perfect position to play the victim when you are behind in the count. That mentality doesn't get you anywhere. You spend all your time complaining how unfair life is and none of your time living life and making it better for you and those around you.

This does not let you off the hook for doing what is right and what is good. You should do what is good and right simply because it is. Do not count and expect rewards. Do not bargain with life and trade good deeds for easy living. It just doesn't work that way. Life is not a series of quid pro quo.

You do good because you love and you have received love. Not even God's love can be earned by good deeds but luckily enough it is a gift given freely to each and every one of us. And when we partake of this love, our heart yearns to do good and spread this love. And when we are consumed by this urge, we realize how little we do that is actually worth counting. The words, "I'm not worthy that You should enter into this house" seem to come a little more into focus when you think of life in this way.

So when you start counting all the things you do and don't do and it doesn't add up against the struggle of life, just stop counting. When you stop worrying about getting karma, karma will come to you. Then think of Mother Teresa and all the things she did and all the struggles she had to endure doing the right thing and start counting the blessings you do have instead of the rewards you believe you are deserved.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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