There are very few things in life that are for sure. Death and Taxes are always mentioned in any conversation on the subject. What about people who levy the taxes and appropriate funds from the citizens under the disguise of "Common Good". What will happen to those people? Is it theft to take someones money in a greater portion than another citizen with the same rights? I really don't have a clue. I might just have to put in a question to the bible Q&A line at my Church. I know it's selfish of me to expect to be able to keep at least a little of my money before the jackals come to help me "Share" it with other, less fortunate souls. I guess in today's society charity is compulsory.
I'll be honest, I'm not a rich man in worldly possessions but I'm a millionaire when it comes to the people in my life. It was sometime last week when my son and I were talking to a good friend of mine out in the garage. When we got done talking and bartering for an easy hour, my son and I left to hit the store for some supplies. On the way he looks over at me and says "Dad, you sure do have a bunch of friends". He's right, I do have a bunch of friends, great people who I share life with. Some are lifelong friends who have shared the best and worst times in life. Some are fairly new that have really changed me as a person and made me feel that drive to succeed like I did in the past. No matter who you are, if you are reading this, Thank You! I'm very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.
The people we surround ourselves with are a direct influence in our lives. They dictate who we are and what we do as much as our conscience does. That being said, we are a direct influence on them as well. Take that responsibility and cherish it. Do the best you can to guide your friends towards the right path. Don't drag them down with you when you are feeling upset. Instead, allow them to lift you up and be yourself. If you were normally a miserable wretch, I doubt they would be your friend in the first place. Friends lean on each other without ever expecting anything in return. I've always felt badly if I had to owe anyone anything. If I needed a friends help and hadn't helped them out as much I feel like a dirt ball beggar. I've always been that way. I've always been eager to help people as much as possible and I know my dear wife struggles when she sees me doing it. The act of helping a friends or strangers fulfills me. I've always been one to consider the effort of giving one's time as more valuable that money. It puts a smile of relief with the personal touch of conversation when you're there.
I know there are plenty of my friends out there that might be reading this and thinking that they owe me something. You don't owe me anything but your friendship. That is the best gift a man can get from another human being. Unless of course, you're my wife. She like shiny, pretty things! She's getting something much different this year!
This year has seen a great shift in the lives of my family. We have taken steps to encourage our kids to become individuals and taken away some of the commercial influences in their lives. First and foremost, we dropped cable TV. No more commercials with a cartoon scattered in between. No more incessant news breaks with inappropriate content. No more worry about what my kids are learning from the socialist media.
We put the money we saved on our cable bill to good use and partnered with a family from our church that is going on a mission trip to eastern Europe. To a war torn country that has been known for it's genocide, rape and murder. They are taking their entire family to a hostile environment where they barely speak the language. Such a leap of faith would be mind numbing to someone like me. To throw yourself into the lions den without regard to you and your family's safety takes a family built on faith. A Faith I hope to one day understand and admire from within myself.
What do we leave this world with when we leave? Will people miss us? Did you do your part to help society grow and flourish? These are questions you should ask yourself and find the true answer. Are you a giver or a taker? Do you live a righteous lifestyle? There are so many questions we have to ask ourselves before you can look at yourself in the mirror and smile. There is so much hatred and emotional baggage out there in the world that sometimes it's hard to see the good. Do yourself a favor and go find a way to give back to the world that gave to you. There are so many ways you can fulfill your life by helping those around you, by being a good friend, a helper, a mentor, a shoulder, a guide or a champion. All it takes is a little faith and some time. You will be a stronger person for it and realize how blessed you are to have people you can help, not just the ones helping you.
When your bell tolls, what would you have people remember you for? Will they talk for hours about your grace and kindness, or will they lament at a life wasted? That is for you to decide. If you need help or suggestions, please, post a comment!