Never Right… November 2, 2012

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A knock on the door.

It frightens you. It normally wouldn’t, but this is a different night. The wind is howling, the rain is pelting against your house and it sounds like all of hell is trying to seep through the walls of your home to capture your soul and drag you into the deep, dark pit of death. The lights flash, threatening to go out. Who would be knocking on the door at such a moment? It can’t be good, that’s for sure.

You open the door. There’s a woman there with two little children standing in the background, all of them completely drenched. She is frightened out of her mind and begs for entrance. But you see, you’re scared, too. Every apprehension that you’ve ever had about life, death, people, danger and the presence of your own inadequacy comes to the forefront. Mingle that with walking around in a society that demands you be suspicious of everyone around you, and even every piece of fruit you buy from the produce section, and before you have a chance to think, you refuse her entrance, shut your door–and feel grateful that hell is on the outside and you are on the inside.

This happened to a man on the east coast. The only trouble is, there’s always a morning after–when all of our decisions come to roost and are brought to our doorstep, demanding an explanation.

What are you going to do? Well, you’ve got to lie, right?  Because no one is going to understand how terrified you were by the storm and why your stupidity made a decision before your conscience had a chance to show up.

You are informed that the two children perished in the storm. For a split second, the goodness that remains within you realizes that you are a murderer. But the liar who controls the living room of your thoughts just continues to offer more and more feeble explanations.

Let us realize that for the next 24-hour news cycle, this man will be hated. Each one of us, in our little pious puddle of self-perceived purity, will insist that WE would have let this woman and her two sons into our homes, to escape the storm. We will judge him harshly, so that we don’t have to examine ourselves more closely.

I will tell you–these moments come to all of us and they‘re never “right.”

  • It’s never the “right” time.
  • It’s never the “right” people.
  • And it’s never the “right” mood.

My dear friends, if you catch me on a good day, I’m a saint. If you give me warning and let me know that a unique possibility is going to avail itself my way, I will bake a cake and prepare for the festivities. It just never works that way. And those people who insist they can trust their conscience to protect them against doing foolish things–always end up embarrassed the morning after, trying to justify their actions, as the bodies of two young boys are retrieved from a nearby marsh.

It’s never the right time. True adventure always knocks on our door when we are at our weakest, or when we least expect it.

It is never the right people. My God, if they looked like us, or appeared to be in the same economic category, or we recognized them in any way, we CERTAINLY would fling the door open and welcome them in. But desperation, frustration and destitution always come from another place, with another look–sometimes even speaking another language.They sport difference, and difference equals danger.

And of course, it’s never the right mood. Maybe you, yourself, are pissed off about the storm–wondering if that old oak tree in the back yard is going to fall over and destroy the bonus room you recently added to your property. Your mind is not on altruism or hospitality, but stuck with the pedal to the metal–in survival gear. You hope  that the better part of you will kick in and do the right thing. But the slowest-moving part of the human being is the conscience. It eventually does arrive, but has no desire whatsoever to be quick about it, and when it happens upon our scene, extraordinarily tardy, it only succeeds in reminding us how badly we have done without its help.

If you want to avoid the fate of this man, who found himself trapped in a never-the-right-moment, never-the-right-people and never-the-right-mood hole in the ground, then you must have something MORE than a mere conscience. You must realize, every day of your life, that you are completely capable of stupid, selfish and even evil things.

You don’t have to degrade yourself. You don’t necessarily have to share it with others. Just refuse to grant yourself the ridiculous notion that you’ve “arrived,” and would certainly never be tempted by folly again. Otherwise, you’ll trust your conscience to cover your butt–and that particular virtue will arrive like a turtle, just a little too late.

The reason most people spend excessive time lying is because they are angry that their conscience failed to rescue them from doing iniquity.

It’s never the right moment.

It’s never the right people.

And it’s never the right mood.

When tragic circumstances arrive at your house, you need more than a conscience. You need a heart that freely admits that you’re prone to doing absolutely insane things–unless you put a guard on the outside of your emotions to prevent wickedness from entering.

Don’t judge that man on the east coast too harshly. He is our brother. He is us. His ignorance cost two young boys their lives.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about the story. Or perhaps not. Maybe it will be swept away because all hearers of the tale will realize that they, too, might have turned the strangers away.

It is never the right time … to do good.

It is never the right people … who are brought to our attention.

And it is never the right mood that inhabits our thoughts … when it’s time to be a human angel.

Don’t trust your conscience. Build a second line of defense by admitting to yourself that much selfishness still dwells in the corners of your mind.

Then just maybe you will be ready for that knock on the door.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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