The other day someone told me, “I feel like I have tried so hard to do everything right, but I still haven’t gotten what I want — or what I so badly need.”

Bingo! Yeah, I have sometimes felt that way too.

Then the person said, “Why not just give up, quit trying to be right, and just do what other people are doing?”

Yeah, I have felt that weary-of-doing-the-right thing too. And I have felt that might-as-well-just give-up-now, good-egg pouting, righteous-fruit-despairing type thing.

What to do?

First, I’d say keep the big picture in mind, the long-journey in mind, keep the game plan right smack dab in front of you. Being good, doing right, living according to your values will take time to show off it’s value and yield its reward.

But that reward, when it comes, maybe months or even years down the road will be sweet and tasty — and worth the wait.

Hang on; doing the right thing pays off — over time. Good things take time.

It took so long for me as a credentialed teacher to really become a good teacher — years of practice, failure, tying again, showing up for class with a knot in my stomach, until one day — I led that great discussion on that great novel and made that great homework assignment and knew, I had really taught them well.

Hang on! It took years for my wife and I to develop a truly good relationship, lots of fights, hurts, make-ups,  forgiving and being forgiven, getting counseling, until we got it, mostly, kind of  — peace, love, power to do the right thing for each other, self-control, deep emotional connection.

Good things are seldom gotten easily. The good is always hard won, and yet the good-good is so very good when earned by a long moral march in the right direction. And when you get there, to something good you have long longed for, you will be glad you didn’t cheat your way there, or bribe your way there,  or immoralize your way there so that you are left with an uneasy heart or regretful mind, or nothing that is really good at all. We are capable of ruining what is good by how we get it.

Yeah, that is the reality to face on this issue. Doing the wrong things to get the right thing doesn’t work. It doesn’t get you the right things. Right begets right. Wrong leads to wrong.

In career, taking short cuts will lead to incompetence, and forcing your way to the top will leave a sad trail of bodies behind you.

In relationships, doing wrong to get to right often leads leads to a poor fit —  that we don’t see until too late — to a poor match and to the painful reality that it didn’t work and we are right back where we started, ten years later, but now brutally damaged.

Hang on. Doing right, being good — it pays off. Good isn’t a panacea. We must not treat it as such. We don’t get everything we want in life no matter how we live. And being good is not some nifty tool, we use to manipulate others or God to give us what we want.

Good is good, and good is and has it own reward. Good produces good; it produces good people, people in charge of themselves, able to exercise control, able to love, and able to do so much good for others.

Doing the right thing isn’t a shield against all pain or disappointment or loss, but it is the proven, safe route up the great eight thousand meter mountain of life to the gorgeous view from the top.

 

 

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