Relative importance

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Canadian remembrance day ceremony
Women an children at a Zimbabwe borehole
Women an children at a Zimbabwe borehole

It’s been a disconcerting weekend. Yesterday, I sensed a discomforting insight about the inconsequence of most of my life. My big deal young-adult accomplishment, for example, in living through the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe war’s conclusion made not a bit of difference to the lives of the people in that African country (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.) Blogging, writing, business ownership . . . well, do any of these things really matter?

Then I read a plaintive plea on the Google AdSense help forums from someone who presumably grew up in the era of texting rather than serious literature, because of the number of plzz’s in his writing. He’s angry, frustrated, hurt, because somehow he managed to lose $56 and he demands help, support, answers to his vexing problem. (And in my “superiority” I have the power to help him if I wish, but have chosen to ignore him — he’ll have to get support from someone else.)

Of course, if he lived in Zimbabwe, $56 might mean something, if he lived in a shantytown or rural village. Our company’s website management contractor based in Bangladesh earns the grand sum of $2.00 an hour — so (for him) $56 might be a week’s work.

800px-It's_A_Wonderful_Life
George Bailey (James Stewart), Mary Bailey (Donna Reed) and their youngest daughter Zuzu (Karolyn Grimes) in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Different things matter in different ways at different times, it seems. Sure, there are some comparisons we can make to assess our standing/status. Wealth, undoubtedly, counts in the equation, as does health. More challenging (but probably more important than wealth and about as important as health) would be the question about how much we’ve given, contributed and supported or improved the world. I sense the people with the highest rankings here are ultimately the most successful, and often, the happiest.

Sometimes the greatest social achievement contributions arise through drama and music.  Think: It’s a Wonderful Life,” for example, where you can discover the relative meaning of selfless, community-focused values.

On Remembrance/Veteran’s Day, I’m reminded that so many others have done so much more for the world and think a bit about how maybe I can enhance my relatively modest contribution to the community.

 

 

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