My own selfishness sneaks up on me. It strikes me in ways I’m totally unaware of. It hits me in brand new ways that I’ve never seen before. It hits me in my own bitterness. My lack of care. My cynicism. Places I think are products of anger turn out to be nothing more than selfishness.
These days, I find myself watching television and being shocked by the selfishness of the characters. I feel like the characters represented in pop culture are in return representing our own culture, and the things they value are the things we tend to value. And I’m disgusted by it.
Maybe it’s just because I’m not in the shoes of these people, so I wouldn’t know how I would actually react. Often, I’m thankful that I’m not that selfish, because I’m clearly better than all of these people are. Because I have taken the time to fight against my selfishness, and to live outside myself. So I must be doing something right. Right?
You can look around and see the areas in which selfishness has become the norm in our culture, however. It’s not just widely accepted, often it’s expected, even in areas that don’t seem selfish to begin with.
When I worked in the fundraising office of my alma mater, I became more and more aware of how many of my former classmates despise the school. Maybe we’re upset that they made us take a certain class we thought we were exempt from, or because we paid tuition and then get mailings asking for donations. Either way, this generation doesn’t take pride in being a part of the institution nearly as much as generations in the past did. Or at least it seems that way. We’ve forgotten how to take pride in being a part of something bigger, because we feel like we should be the center of it all.
Our alma mater wasn’t exactly what we wanted, so we got angry at it. Our city didn’t have all of the fun night life we wanted, so we decided to trash talk it. Life isn’t exactly how we want it to be, so we’re unhappy with it. We don’t want to change things, we want things to change for us.
But then I reach my area of greatest failure: life isn’t exactly what I think it should be, so I’m angry.
Times have been difficult lately. It hasn’t been an easy past few months. It won’t be an easy next few months. The present is scary, and the future is terrifying. And more and more, I find myself refusing to fight; to try and change things. I don’t write as much anymore because I’m not motivated. I don’t read as much anymore because I get bored. I don’t do nearly as much anymore because I stopped caring.
Maybe life hasn’t moved as quickly as I want. Maybe things aren’t as different from college as I feel they should be. Maybe I’m not doing as well as I expected to. Maybe my response to all of that has been to pout, and ultimately, that’s just selfish. I’m too caught up in myself and my own sadness that I can’t bring myself to care about anything outside of myself.
So I think I’m just learning. I’m learning, during this holiday season, how to just be thankful and not arrogant during those rare, RARE moments in which I’m blessed with a small amount of selflessness. Thankful that I am encouraged to pursue that. Thankful that during these frustrating, saddening times, I can remember that someday, they will stop, and a new season will begin.
Even on my most depressed days, I can force myself to recall a tiny amount of hope. That while looking back on these past rough months, I can look back further to the other rough patches of my life. And in doing so, I can see the ever working Hand of God, guiding me through it all. In all of those times of sadness, I have been brought through. Because of that, I can look ahead with anticipation. In a period with so very few victories, it’s still exciting to see what happens next.
He makes flowers beautiful, even when nobody sees them. He looks after birds, though most people ignore them. Imagine what He will do on behalf of the child He adopted and pulled out of slavery.