Nothing Really Matters

Gang members are some of the best I know in accepting personal responsibility.  Allow me to qualify this statement by saying not in every way, and I’m referring, mostly, to recovering bangers.  Also, I am not endorsing the life, simply saying that those with little to lose by revelation are more likely to reveal.  The same idea holds true with the truly renovating from many paths as accepting responsibility for personal actions is the cornerstone of success in recovery.  Many people are concerned with maintaining the façade of their lives while the house is near falling in, but those who have been in deep waters may be the most honest in reflection.  This is due, in part, to the fact that addicts realize they were addicts after they get sober and understand that honesty really is the best policy.  I single out the affiliated, however, as their former world-view was (and, sometimes, is) nihilistic anyway.

Talking with a former member of the Latin Kings, the ex-royal revealed he had nearly been killed on one occasion and had been shot three times.  He suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.  As we conversed, I insightfully observed, “It would be natural for someone to suffer PTSD after having been shot.”  He replied that his flashbacks were not a result of gunplay.  When I asked why he thought his troubling thoughts were not so derived, he said, “I was shooting at them, too.”  Perfect.  This man understood that he accepted certain consequences when he pursued his chosen path in life.  He was not going to sit and cry about injustice when he went about his former ways with eyes wide open.  Individually, we do not have control of everything in our lives, but we have more control over our personal lives than anyone else.  All of us must learn to take responsibility for our deeds.

Accepting responsibility is freeing.  It is, actually, more fearsome in thought than in reality.  We may find we avoided owning up to things that were not really significant to any large degree in the first place.  On the grand scale, they were not things that really mattered.  When we boil it all down, life contains a few salient ingredients from which everything else derives.  We will want to keep the good stuff and discard the fluff.  Hopefully, we will do this while we still have some living left to do.  In my life, there have been many days on which reflection revealed little worthwhile and lasting accomplishment.  I don’t want to be comforted that this is the human condition only to be instructed not to fritter away the time of which life is made.  I must accept responsibility for my days.  In addition, understanding that my time is finite, I must solidify my goals and expend myself in efforts worth the while.

I will face a future judgment for my time on earth.  On that day, when I stand before God, I alone will be answerable.  There will be no one to blame and no reasonable excuse to offer.  No plea will be offered at all when I stand in silence before the One who created me.  What is true of me will prove true for all who ever lived, and I need to decide today how I am going to spend my future days.  No one will answer for me before the Judge.  I own it.  We can choose our actions, but we can’t choose our consequences which will come cold as the snow.  The things that are important to me are observable to casual bystanders and clearly seen by those who know me well.  There are hard truths to be faced in life, and final accountability is one of them.  Each of us will receive the due reward of our deeds.  One of those crucified with Jesus recognized this, and the other went into eternity with curses for the Son of God.

If the essential things in life are undone, all subsequent performances are useless.  The light of eternity lends simplicity to the pursuit of living as it reveals what might be alongside what must be.  Jesus said our lives should be concerned with more than apparel and acquisitions.  The transitory nature of worldly things becomes apparent over time even to those not spiritually inclined.  Many of life’s achievers experience the same dissatisfaction as the dependent in values clarification.  There are tangible and ethereal attainments that will only endure so long as the sun rises and sets, but the souls of men live forever.  Even eternal pursuits are not of the same order, which fact is not meant to dissuade the pursuant from fidelity.  One of little faith, failing in certain matters of import, may achieve heaven though suffering loss.  If one is not a believer, they will not reach heaven at all, and nothing else will really matter.


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