The Courage to Face Ingratitude X

If a man receives a counterfeit dollar he does not straightway lose his faith in all money,—at least there are not such instances on record in this country. If he has a run of three or four days of dull weather he does not say ‘the sun ceases to exist, there are surely no bright days to come in the whole calendar of time.’

If a man’s breakfast is rendered an unpleasant memory by some item of food. That has outlived its usefulness, he does not forswear eating. If a man finds under a tree an apple with a suspicious looking hole on onside, he does not condemn the whole orchard; he simply confines his criticism to that apple. But he who has helped some one who, later, did not pass a good examination on gratitude, says in a voice plaintive with the consciousness of injury, and with a nod of his head the implies the wisdom of Solomon; ‘I have had my experience, I have learned my lesson. This is the last time I will have faith in any man. I did this for him and that for him, and now, look at the result!’

Then he unrolls a long schedule of favors, carefully itemized and added up, till it seems the payroll of a great city. He complains of the injustice of one man, yet he is willing to be unjust to the whole world, making it bear the punishment of the wrong of an individual. There is too much vicarious suffering already in this earth of ours without this Lilliputian attempt to extend it by syndicating one man’s ingratitude. If one man drinks to excess, it is not absolute justice to send the whole world to jail.” ~ William George Jordan

People form groups for all kinds of reasons. They have a common outlook, mutual interest or shared purpose. Book clubs. Churches. Political parties. Fantasy football leagues. Facebook friends. Ethnic groups. Nations. And the list goes on.

You no doubt belong to clubs, groups, online forums and the like, but have you given much thought to the syndicates you form and join by virtue of the daily attitudes you take in relation to the situations you face? Every time you express emotion or broadcast an attitude, you are plugging yourself into a largely invisible network of individuals who share your view on life.

Every ill spirit and bad attitude springs from a failure to orient in love or one of its many derivatives, including, but not limited to: like, care, healing, genuine concern or blessing. To the degree that you give an ill spirit residence in your heart, you are “plugged into” the network of hatred and its derivatives. This does not corrupt you entirely, but it does limit your effectiveness in living.

The same is true for those around you. The content of the heart and the way in which it is expressed gives evidence of underlying orientation. Most people exhibit a thorough mixture of orientation, carrying themselves nobly under certain circumstances and in some areas of their lives while acting sub-optimally in others. You, in your dealings with the world around you, are likely to come in contact with the “mixed” state on a daily basis, and you must take great care to separate that which merits your attention and support and that which must be either ignored or discouraged.

You must further take care not to paint the whole world with your momentary observations and discoveries. To do so gives evidence of a dreadfully unscientific and astigmatic approach to living. Regardless of how they got there, the mixtures are what they are. It is best to deal with them to the best of your ability and then move on. Don’t linger. Don’t dwell on them. Don’t obsess about them. They will drive you crazy if you choose – yes it is a choice! – to let them.

You need not let the shortcomings in others be reason for you to buy a lifetime membership in the syndicates of complaint, victimization or blame. The world will offer you a million and one reasons to join the many groups of people who have given up on the magic of life.

The choice, my dear readers, is yours.

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7 Responses to The Courage to Face Ingratitude X

  1. Melissa Hake says:

    Brilliant observation by Mr. Jordan! Thanks Gregg for shedding light on the hiding places of the present day “Lilliputian”. Keeping our worlds small and syndicating more “smallness” through modern clubs and media gossip is defining the new generations by magnifying an ungracious few. These are the hangups we pass down to our children should we buy into the “all is lost” idea or better yet ” the sky is falling!” syndrome. With these syndromes a simple fallen apple can be seen as a precursor for Chicken Little’s doomsday approach or if we choose to change our approach, the expansion of understanding and growth like Newton’s law of universal gravitation.
    After all why does one bad apple have to spoil the rest? I agree: the choice is ours.

  2. Ricardo B. says:

    It seems like if we just take our cues from the world around us to tell us how we should live, we will quickly find complaint and cynicism no matter where we turn. It validates any suspicious perspective on life that harbors a feeling of distrust, and thus feeds it. This tends to happen very quickly in some, or more slowly over the passing years in others. This is painful to see, because it can become a tempest in folks that are naturally excitable and much harm thus is spread from them in various forms of abuse, even if that abuse is not directed at the one afflicted here. Innocent bystanders are always part of the casualties. In the more introverted, that harm is directed internally, and the people around them suffer as a result of the atmosphere of despair that they hold around themselves. I see this happen all the time in my practice.

    I feel we have to take our cues from somewhere else, and take advantage of that natural optimism that resides within. It’s there, however dim of a light it may be for one, and it shows in the feelings of care that we have for something, anything. Pay your attention to that, feed that, nourish that, and let that develop for there to be a way out of the pain of feeling bereft. I feel we have to derive inspiration on a daily basis, for there are indeed too many negative external cues around us today, and this simply has to be outweighed by like-minded people who just will not buy into it. Tere has to be feeling enough and reason enough inside us, genuine and real to each of us, to not go there. A heart hardened through the trials and tribulations of life is a heart that cannot help.
    Let us place our faith where faith is deserved!

  3. Lady leo says:

    Wholesale cynacism is a lazy approach to living. When others become infected with with the foolish blanket denunciation it greases the wheels for prejudice and judgement of a specific segment. It becomes typecasting at it very broadest. I think most people barely have the opportunity to form this on their own. We are the unwitting beneficiaries of what our parents and other guiding adults have bequeathed; some very deliberate some quite unconscious. This is where the inclination of our own hearts along with an intelligent mind can override this mass programing. Learning to think for yourself takes being deliberate in managing what you will allow yourself to express. Hate, anger, victimization and fear or kindness, courage, forgiveness and reason are choices; they each take us down a road that becomes our life. Excellent post. Thanks.

  4. happytobehere says:

    One bad apple only makes the others rotten if you keep it next to them. Choose your friends wisely, it’s not only teenagers that are influenced by them.

  5. Vincent says:

    The ready tendency to denounce others, groups of others or institutions is lazy, as mentioned by Lady Leo. It is also the evidence of a sense of personal weakness and desperation. One must, seemingly, pass judgment in order to avoid being fooled or surprised or disappointed. Obviously we don’t wish to be naiive or reckless, accepting as a whole the suggestions or group patterns that are presented to us daily, but the urge to prejudgment is a sure route to mediocrity. Things do reveal themselves, and often not just in the ways we might have imagined. Keeping as many doors open as possible allows for continuing education of the experiential variety!

  6. Isabelle says:

    Thank you. I’m really enjoying this seris.

  7. Estelle M. says:

    Well said! I have no qualms about being “plugged in” to your daily posts.

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