Sunday, May 3, 2009

Know Better, Do Better

Fishing @ Tip
Originally uploaded by Azmi AAM
Last weekend, I was blissfully puttering around my house, enjoying the breeze and the lovely smells of spring that were coming through the open windows. My family was out, and I had the house to myself, so I was reveling in the silence, until someone down the street began blaring music. The music itself wasn’t offensive, in fact under normal circumstances I probably would have listened to it myself. I just didn’t want that beautiful day to be marred by something so jarring.

As I ruminated on how rude it was of someone to impose their musical choices on the rest of us, I realized I’d done that same thing many times. This must be some sort of cosmic payback for my past thoughtlessness. Immediately, I felt shame, and my thoughts flitted to what a ridiculous individual I was when I was younger. How many times had I been out with friends and carelessly ruined someone’s quiet dinner? How often had I cussed in front of people who were offended by such language? How had a hurt my coworkers with my poor work ethic? These were the minor issues that crossed my mind; I’m not even going to detail the illegal or immoral choices I’d made in my youth.

Suddenly my thoughts came to a screeching halt with one sentence, that popped into my head: “Know better, do better.” It’s true; I hadn’t before realized how disturbing it was to be forced to listen to someone else’s music when all you want is quiet. Like dominoes, all the other things I’d done fell down before me. I wouldn’t do any of that now. In fact, I’m so far removed from all those things it’s almost as though I’m a different person. I know better, and I would never behave like that now. I try to live my life in integrity, and although all of us fall short from time to time in general I’m fine with how I’m doing.

I can’t change the past. I can learn from my mistakes and endeavor to do better in the future, but now matter how shamed I am or how much I fret about my actions, I’m never going to be able to erase it from my memory or my history. I need to focus on what I can do now to be a better person. If I’m always looking to the past, I’ll never be fully present.

1 comment:

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