The Final Analysis

This week had some trying days that sent me searching for light in a dark place. Words of wisdom from the walls of Mother Teresa's Calcutta children's home gave those days perspective once again. This prayer originally called the Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M. Keith will join the sayings, scripture, quotes and wisdom that adorn the walls in the Chaplaincy office. It is too good not to share. Here it serves as a precursor to the stories that broke our hearts this week because it so aptly illustrates how even on a trying day we must not stop. We must keep moving forward. We must continue to do good.

The Final Analysis
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.

Phil came to see us this week. It wasn't the first time, we knew Phil fairly well, we just hadn't seen him since 2010. Phil is my age and battling some pretty serious mental illness. His hair was matted and despite the 70 degree day he was dressed for snow. He was paranoid and bordering on angry as he tried to articulate why he was visiting our office. After much conversation I realized he only wanted his documents out of the file, nothing more. As I handed him his documents, a photocopy of his passport caught my eye. Phil was a little younger, smiling, handsome, with shorter hair and a clarity in his eyes that was missing presently. I couldn't stop wondering what had happened to Phil. What had life thrown at him that brought him to this point? It made me sad to know that Phil is just one of many who wonder the streets lost in an abyss that exists within. It makes me feel helpless.

Jay visited the office the same day as Phil. He was tall with short hair and sad eyes, younger than me and Phil in years but he looked so weary. He needed his ID renewed. He didn't realize it had expired and he couldn't get his social security card with an expired ID. He looked so very sad, beaten down, and defeated. Susann, being the office mother that she is, smiled gently and assured him that today will be a good day. He asked if he could do something, anything to repay us. We explained that we don't do what we do for repayment but that he should 'pay it forward'. We talked about random acts of kindness and such. He was so grateful, so appreciative for all the things we take for granted. He nearly cried when we scrounged up enough money for him to buy a bus ticket. Jay has goals and a tentative plan to reach them. He has his associates degree and wants to go to ASU. He wants a job. He wants to sleep inside tonight.

These men broke my heart. They took me to my knees that night and this line from The Final Analysis spoke to me:
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

Pace e bene!