Your Best –
A new employee was given an assignment and then handed in a report to his boss. Without opening the report the boss asked this new employee; “Did you do your best?” The employee thought a moment, requested the report be returned and went back to his desk. The employee came back to his boss, report in hand, and before he gave it to his boss he heard the same question; “Does this report reflect the best you’re capable of doing?” The employee turned around and went back to his desk. The third time the employee approached his boss’ door he asked himself; “Is this the best I can do?” Without hesitation he answered; “Yes.” After telling his boss the same thing the boss said; “That’s all I’ll ever ask of you, your best.”
This story. told by the pastor this morning, is of Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a subordinate. We often conflate our best with perfection. They are not the same thing. Perfection is both unattainable and transient. Perfection to one is not perfect for the other. Our best, however, is more manageable. If we are self-aware, have an accurate understanding of our strengths and weaknesses then we are able to give our best and that will be good enough.
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Might Be –
One of the greatest senses we can develop is that of self-awareness. It’s the discipline of being able to look into an existential mirror and see who we really are, no delusion or illusion. We can see ourselves, the good and the not so good, discover what we do well and what needs to be improved.
Most live in a constant state of denial of who they are and/or who they should be. They allow others, culture, reputation, ego, the false self to define them. If we are not self-aware the world has a limitless number of fake identities to slap on us. If we aren’t careful we can settle for these alter-egos and never take off the masks too many wear for a lifetime.
Letting go of who we’ve always thought we should be isn’t easy. There is pain involved on the journey of self-discovery. However, if we dare, the challenges and difficulties can be overcome, the illusions and delusions shattered, and we become what most dare not hope for; at peace.
Stench of Death –
Earlier this week we had a visitor. I was getting ready for bed and was walking into the kitchen for something to drink. As I did a little furry rodent ran in front of me. I chased it into the reading room but by the time I flipped the light switch on it had vanished. Usually, mice aren’t a problem as the days get warmer and we’ve had an unusually warm winter so they’ve been few and far between. I set up a couple of traps and waited.
To my surprise, I didn’t catch one but four of them in less than 24 hours. Now, 5 days later, there’s no sign of mice anywhere. To dispose of them I used plastic store bags, tying them as air tight as I could get them and threw it into the kitchen waste basket. We’ve had a busy week and the trash can didn’t fill up as fast as it usually does. I forgot about the mice until we got back home from church today and there was a stench, a smell that made our noses crinkle and our eyes water. It was then I remembered the deceased creatures in our trash. I took the bag outside, sprayed Lysol in the can, replaced the bag and lit a scented candle.
It was a smelly and good lesson on dead things in our life. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a habit, a hurt or a hangup if we don’t take care of things which will bring death to our physical, emotional or spiritual lives we will end with a stench surrounding us. Through self-awareness and spiritual guidance, we can identify the decay, clean it out of our lives and not be haunted any longer.