Character and Choice – How will You Make your Mark on the World?

You’ve had a rough day. Everyone is on your case — from the boss’s morning tongue-lashing to the parking attendant scowling at you as your leave. As you drive down the freeway, some idiot cuts you off. That’s it. The veritable straw to break your back. Without reserve, you lash out at the driver jumping in front of him and brake checking him until he swerves onto the shoulder. Now, do you feel better?

Good people can turn into monsters when they’ve been abused. And there seems to be a lot of exploitation going around these days. But abuse engenders abuse, starting a chain reaction of despair, hopelessness, and further corruption as it travels on its mission of cruelty.

You may feel justified lashing out. After all, you didn’t deserve the treatment you received. It all builds until you must retaliate. And retaliate you will in a blaze of glory. It’s healthy, you say, all that pent-up anger needs to go somewhere. Whoever gets in your way, that’s their problem.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This righteous indignation pervades our consciousness. With the rise of Internet voice and its anonymity, more and more people claim as their right to spout whatever vitriol comes into their minds, giving their simmering hatred a vent. Thereby pushing others into the same misbehavior.

On top of that, we refuse to hold each other accountable. We look at entitled and arrogant people as if they were heroes. Dismissing their manner to platitudes like: Oh, they had a bad childhood or They’ve had so many challenges in their life, they can’t help how they are or It’s just human nature.

Before you slip into ignorant naivete, consider the story of one ambassador of hope and stellar character to this dismal cause and effect. Her name is Maggie, and she’s not even human. But she puts many a human to shame. Maggie has suffered horrific mistreatment at the hands of victimizers, links in the never-ending chain of savagery and brutality. Her body has been pummeled with BB pellets, her eyes torn from her body, her unborn children killed from the ravages inflicted on her body.

If any dog, other animal, or person endured what she has, we certainly would expect an angry and aggressively destructive personality. But Maggie is friendly. She loves everyone she meets. And her life positively touches many, many souls. She works as a therapy dog, giving comfort, joy and peace to humans who most need her love. In one photo she sports a sign that reads: In a world where you can be anything . . . Choose to be kind. Her life exemplifies this axiom perfectly.

So, the next time you’re having a bad day, and think it’s so bad you’ve earned the right to lay in a path of destruction yourself, think about Maggie. Are you going to let a dog show superior character to yourself?

Remember – Your choices define who you are. And who you are determines your life’s contribution. How will you be commemorated?

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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