So much about the Virtues Project that interests me is that I make the time to meditate about the gray areas. These include the pitfalls of too much of a good thing, the thin dividing lines between “good” and “not good” and the fact that those lines are in different places for each of us.
And then there’s just the Murphy’s Law of it all. Attributed to a diverse group of folks over the years, this aphorism must be true based on ubiquity. It came to mind this weekend because it appears on a list of quotations of recently deceased author and social commentator Gore Vidal. That seemed to good to be true—I thought the phrase ought to pre-date him, so I spent a bit of a moment researching and then stitching to reflect on it some more.
On a search engine, one finds this phrase used as news headline over and over again; for example, it is used for ironic hard-luck reports about good samaritans knocked down and it is used for defending a few minute kind gestures of otherwise unkind patricians. Queries about this phrase are popular, with answers of varying correctness and depth on each popular site-for-asking out there online. And, of course, the juxtaposition of kindness with unwarranted retribution makes for interesting storytelling; several television episodes have used this phrase as a title, there are many songs with fragments of the phrase as title, and many a poet has used these words from time to time.
With this phrase’s almost universal truth established, one must ask why there continue to be good deeds done. And how does one shake off self-pity and bounce back from such adversity rather than take the phrase as gospel and give up on people altogether?
I have no answers of my own right now. But I do appreciate this moment for a reminder to do unto others… and to make sure to express gratitude as much as possible. In the end, we must continue to do what is right yet gird up to accept the consequences.