What matters?

EDITOR: When all is said and done, and we look back upon our lives lived, that which we left behind suddenly looms large. Upon self reflection, what truly is of the most importance? Surely it isn’t the money accumulated, the honors gathered, the possessions acquired. That we survived to pass on to others is meaningful, but just what did we pass on of lasting value?

Kindness toward self and others ought to be in that remembered list, toward animals, plants and earth alike. Caring, too, would be there. Helping when asked and unasked — that should be there too. In short, the best of what our religion teaches — not the rules/regulations and patterns that identify us as one or another religion, but the meaning of what our religions have all tried to show us.

Character matters. Acknowledging the flawed nature of the human condition, and holding oneself responsible to be better than the flaws and to embrace the best that we all carry within us — that matters.

What we have shown others of our true selves, to help them to be the best they can be as well — that reflects the best of us and counts in the final evaluation. The tears we have shed, and the tears of others that we helped turn into smiles — that also earns wings.

I share these thoughts in the hope that whatever truth is inherent will resonate, and that you will be encouraged to reach out to others as well as within to yourselves. If so, then that will matter as well.

I am disturbed when I see good people discouraged about the poor examples being set politically on all sides, when the least of good behavior is not called out and set right. Holding ourselves to be our best requires us to be willing to acknowledge when that behavior is not reflected for our children and others to see. In cases like that, our actions or lack thereof will speak for us. And it matters.

Daniel Cohen