Many years and many more digressions ago, Kathy posted about "The Paradoxical Commandments" by Dr. Kent M. Keith on her blog. I can't remember when it was or even what the title of the blog post was, but maybe she can enlighten us with a comment later.
At any rate, I have been reflecting on those sayings a lot lately, because they really do speak to me. In pretty much any profession, one is able to see the first line in action, "People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered..." Since I have worked in a customer service oriented field my entire working life, I have seen many examples of this. But then that statement is followed by a profound challenge: "Love them anyway." WOW! Now if that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what does.
Is it easy to do? Of course not, I would rather people be logical, reasonable, and selfless. But it is a challenge I try to live up to every day. It's really difficult to love someone who is cursing, yelling, or otherwise making you feel like dirt at the Pharmacy counter, and most of the time I fail the challenge. Until, of course, I actually think about what is going on and how I would feel in the same situation. Most of the people I deal with are older with many health problems, treating someone with many health problems, or are dealing with a painful or embarrassing illness that they would like to get over with as soon as possible. In the end, I might still have a few choice words to say about those "illogical, unreasonable, self-centered" people, but I still try to treat them with the dignity and respect we are all due as human beings. And I think that is something that the author of these Commandments would agree with.
Sometimes I am the one that needs reminding of the Commandments, because I am the one that is being "illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered." What can I say? I am human after all, and we all have those moments of indiscretion. But the important thing is that we try to live out our lives as good people; it is my challenge to live as a good Catholic Christian person, but that can apply to any religion since humanity and goodness transcend religious views. The point of it all is to challenge and motivate us to look beyond the exterior and see people in a better light, and really, who can argue with that?
You can find the whole selection from "The Paradoxical Commandments" here, but I also wanted to share a YouTube video today. Not only have I been enamored with these quotes, but also with a song that is based on them. Martina McBride has a song called "Anyway" that goes into a few of the lines, and even gives a different perspective or new understanding of what the Commandments are trying to accomplish. Personally I feel enriched and touched to experience both the written words and the song version, and I hope you do too. But the challenge I give to you all is to actually live out the Commandments, as I strive to do every single day.