“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." (Mother Teresa)
I'm sitting in another teacher's classroom, and there behind me on the wall, was a poster with this beautiful quote from Mother Teresa. I've seen it many times - a source of inspiration on many classroom walls, Facebook pages, Pinterest collections, and Instagram accounts. Its message is one whose goodness and Truth seems universal.
Persist in choosing something Higher, even when everyone and everything around you may be telling you to do the opposite.
Persist in choosing that which is noble, and compassionate, and Light, even when all seems dark and mean around you.
Persist in forgiving...in choosing hope...in sacrificing for the sake of Love, even when doing so would seem futile or naive.
Because in the end, it isn't about what you will get in return. It isn't about what you achieved. It isn't about what is fair and just. It isn't about "You" at all. The purpose of our lives is fulfilled only when we realize the gift we've been given to be a vessel: an expression of something Divine; of Love.
I can do this in small, individual ways every day. In fact, as I've gotten older, I've grown to realize that it's in those small, seemingly insignificant moments, that small acts of kindness, of quiet sacrifice, of honesty are valued the most. As I read the quote once again, I want to recognize these moments more often, and then remember to act in them.
“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.” (C. S. Lewis)
That wish reminded me of the above quote, and the true cost of such a action. It will always come at a time and place that won't be "easy". Doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason rarely is. But it's the only thing I know that rewards both the giver and the receiver. A Divine "deal" that will never disappoint.
Definitely a Precious Pearl to keep in my pocket.
PS: As I wrote this, I discovered that Mother Teresa never actually said this. The original author of these statements was a Harvard student named Keith M. Keith, who published the original collection of these sayings in a pamphlet titled “The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council”. Interesting, but makes no matter to me. These principles belonged to neither the saint or the student. They came from a Higher author.