Sunday, April 26, 2015


It would be hard for me to put a date on when I became aware of self-ness. But then, I find it more difficult with each passing year to correlate dates and events in my life. This could be an introduction to the importance of keeping a journal or at least the importance of dating and labeling pictures. But alas, I will be writing about a much different subject this week.

I know that there were many writers who referred to the 1980’s as the ME DECADE, but since my siblings had referred to me as being spoiled, selfish and self-centered long before that, I am sure I had had thoughts about self-ness previously.

But by the time the ME DECADE came along and I was personally in my fourth decade of mortality, I was well aware of the contagious malady which seems to infect all of us at times and was contaminating most of society during that era.

In the work place, loyalty to ‘the man’ had been replaced by a ‘show me the money’ philosophy.
In marital relationships, ‘co-dependence’ was looked on as an evil and damaging hindrance to ‘personal fulfillment.’

Charity, an age old ‘accountability for the welfare of others’, was replaced with an ever expanding population of ‘homeless.’

In families where ‘blood had always been considered to be thicker than water’ more and more of the world’s population, found themselves trapped in houses surrounded by ‘dysfunctional individuals.’

It seemed that everything we heard and saw provided a mounting pile of evidence of the importance of developing a ‘Me First’ philosophy.

As radio talk shows became increasingly popular, we heard constant counsel given to a steady stream of callers that our main concern should always be that our own personal needs, wants and happiness were paramount above those of all others.

The message of the majority of the popular music of the day almost universally spoke to the theme that each of us needs to get what we want regardless of what price we or others might have to pay.

The shelves of book stores, (can you imagine a day when EBooks didn't exist?) were filled and authors were becoming wealthy as they spewed forth the tenets of the doctrine of ‘How to get yours’.

When I was in my sixth year of mortal life my mother gave birth to brother who was to be called Fred, a son who would bear my father’s name. Fred only bore that name in mortality for eight days and then he made his journey back to live with his Heavenly Family. On special occasions and in certain circumstances

I have been struck with nostalgic thoughts of what it might have been like to have shared my formative years with a younger brother.

One of those nostalgic whisperings came upon me when I was reading the account of those two ancient brothers Cain and Abel. As I was reading that account of an older brother whose life was dominated and controlled by ‘Me-ism’ and ‘Self-ness,’ I wondered if I would have been the ‘Cain’ in the life of the ‘Abel’ in my life. I wondered how I would have answered the Lord’s question if He were to have addressed me with the query, ‘Where is thy brother?’

Very little time would have to be spent in my company, witnessing the interactions I have with the eternal brothers and sisters I brush shoulders with during my daily walk, before it would become pretty obvious what kind of an older brother I would have been to Fred.

As I go to and fro in the ‘daily grind,’ do my interactions and feelings about my eternal brothers’ and sisters’ rise and fall depending on their political affiliations or the propaganda which might be labeling their names as good or evil on the nightly news, or have I come to value the Eternal Relationships over societal expediencies?

Are my abilities to be charitable governed by worthiness of the recipient, or has stewardship replaced self-ness sufficiently in my makeup to compel me towards random compassionate acts of kindness and giving?

Am I so possessive of my talents and abilities, that I feel they should only be used to garner honor and prizes unto myself or have I been consumed with that ‘magnificent obsession’ which consumes me with a desire to ‘take from my meager pile’ and add to that of my Eternal brothers and sisters so that we might all live in a world which is just a little brighter and more beautiful because I was willing to share?

In my familial relationships, am I striving to serve rather than to be served, to love rather than to be loved and to nourish rather than be nourished?

We can only pray, that after we daily brush shoulders with the numerous Abel’s and Sarah’s who surround us and then when we nightly kneel to report to our Lord, that we will be able to joyously exclaim that this day we have indeed been our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.

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