Many times I have considered what is the meaning for our lives. Some people have lives with love, happiness, fulfillment, good health, and comfort. Other people have lives with pain, misery, hardship, sickness, and suffering. How could this be, this doesn’t seem fair, just, equitable, or right.
The fact that some people have completely happy lives, and some people have completely horrible lives until the day that they die, makes one even wonder if or how there can be a God. How could God allow this to happen, why does he allow so much suffering, horrors, and tragedy to afflict people? What is the point and the purpose in all of this?
I think that it even says several places in the Bible, that you won’t and can’t know or understand God’s plans and purposes, something like “His ways are unsearchable…” Sometimes I wonder if clever people didn’t write the Bible, and think up things to say that would keep people following along, even when their good deeds, good intentions, devoutness, piety, and faith didn’t result in them being spared from tragedy and horrors. Hey, “No one can understand the ways of the Lord…”
It may be true that God has a plan and a reason for every person and everything. What would or could this plan be? Why are we here on Earth, each one of us? It is especially hard to understand that there could be any beneficial purpose when children are born into horrible circumstances, mistreated and harmed every day, and then killed, which is what I have read about in the news recently, I don’t even want to repeat any of the details.
Here in Dickinson, this is almost like a school for me, it literally is like a classroom. I have never seen things so clearly in my life, I don’t know if it is like this for anyone else here. I want to give one example.
I have met three local men in Dickinson, and have gotten to know them pretty well. These particular three men, their fathers were competent, hard working, and successful. These three men did not go without very much when they were children, they were helped by their family all throughout their lives, even in buying a home or property, and later through inheriting money, a home, or property.
None of these three men have been successful in their lives, not in a career, not financially, and especially not in relationships. In each of these three men, I have seen remarkable self-centeredness and selfishness, which appears to have been with them throughout their lives. This self-centerdness and selfishness seems to have been what has gotten in the way of their career, their financial success, and especially their relationships.
The reason why I brought up the fact that their fathers were competent, hardworking, and successful, and the fact that they have never had to go without very much throughout their lives, I think that this is the cause of their self-centerdness and selfishness. In a way, they have never had to go without, been without help, been desperate for help, had to look for help, been totally on their own. They have always received things, and received help. Somehow, this has made them not have any sympathy for others, compassion for others, desire to help others, or desire to understand others. In other words, they don’t care about others.
This not caring about others, has been something that has made them unsuccessful in relationships. For as long as they have not seen their own self-centeredness and selfishness, they have had failed work, social, and romantic relationships. It is like this, they try to get a job, start a job, start a relationship, or maintain a relationship, and it fails because they alienate people when it appears that they don’t care about people, but only themselves. Because this attitude has been so prevalent in their lives, I think that they were supposed to learn something from this, probably to recognize selfishness in themselves and to overcome it, but this hasn’t happened yet.
I don’t know how you would change something like this within yourself, not caring about others. I suppose the first step would be to see this in yourself, to identify this in yourself. The second step would be the desire, wish, and intention to change this in yourself, to want to start caring about people. The third step would be to actually begin caring about people, and to begin trying to help people.
These three men, life has given them opportunity after opportunity to recognize in themselves that they do not care about other people, that they should want to and try to help other people, and the opportunity to help other people. And for as many times as they do things to not care about other people, life will give them a result to reflect on, an opportunity for self evaluation, and an opportunity to try once more.
For the cynical people who are thinking why should I help anyone, why should I care about anyone, I began this blog post with the title “If There Is Any Reason For Our Lives, It Is Probably For Learning”. You can go through life not helping people, not caring about people, and doing whatever you want. At the very end of your life, knowing that you will certainly die soon, and there is no more time left for you, you might understand then that there are no more women, drugs, money, cars, boats, motorcycles, homes for you, you are leaving all of this behind, these things do not matter any more.
At the time of your death, once you realize that you are leaving all of this behind, do you think that you will wish that you cheated one more person, took advantage of one more person, stole from one more person, hurt one more person, or do you think that you will regret some of the bad things that you did to harm people? Looking back on your life, once you know that your life is over, you will probably wish that you had done some things differently, regretting mean, unkind, hurtful things that you did to people.
For some people, it might not be until they know that they will die soon, and understand that they will soon leave everything behind, that money and other worldly things will no longer matter to them and seem unimportant. For some people, they can see now that it is important how they treat other people, for what will seem important at the end of their life and what they would regret most at the end of their life is the harm that they caused other people.
Whether a person has the mental capacity at the end of their life to understand what they have done, or the time to reflect at the end of their life, or there is a personal life review after death, or there is judgment after death, I would not want to be one of the assholes who quadrupled the rent in Dickinson.
In my own life, what is it that I am supposed to learn? I think that I see some of it. Again, Dickinson is like school for me, it is literally like a classroom. O.K., I am paying attention, what is it that I am supposed to learn? This is what Dickinson has taught me so far:
- In the South, where I come from, there was segregation and discrimination against Blacks. I was aware of this, but I didn’t truly know how this feels. Imagine how it would feel if you did very well in school, you got a degree in engineering, you had worked as an engineer, estimator, superintendent, project manager, and operated your own business, but you couldn’t get a good job because you were Black? After moving to Dickinson, I now know what it is like to be Black.
- I had never been to prison. I was aware that there are no women in prison, you can’t go anywhere, and there are all kinds of rough, ignorant, primitive people that want to start fights all the time, but I didn’t truly know what this is like. After moving to Dickinson, I now know what it is like to be in prison.
- I had never lived in a Third-World corrupt country like Somalia or Panama. I was aware that they don’t have law, order, due process of law, and enforcement of regulations and laws, but I didn’t truly know what this is like. After moving to Dickinson, and not being paid wages owed by my previous two employers, I now know what it is like to live in a Third-World corrupt country.
- I used to not have very much patience for people who were not good at their jobs. I had anger towards people who were not good at their jobs if they caused me delays, frustration, or problems. Since moving to Dickinson, and seeing and experiencing such a wide range of problems in people such as lack of education, lack of intelligence, drug addiction, mental illness, attention deficit disorder, developmental disabilities, in-breeding, recent immigrant, being from Dickinson, and God knows what else, I have learned to take a breath, calm down, realize that this is not going to go well or go quickly, wait patiently or leave quietly. I have about a 75% success rate at being patient in the past 60 days.
- Since moving to Dickinson, I now know what it is like to have your social security card, birth certificate, credit card information, tools, equipment, money, and vehicle stolen, and to now have to keep putting a bicycle lock through my steering wheel and seat frame.