Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Overhaul

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

Thomas Paine
Hello Diane
"Watchman, tell us of the night."
The night is past. The past is the night.
Lately I've been thinking of doing a complete overhaul of myself. It's not something I particularly want to do but it seems to be a necessary activity every now and then at no special time. It's sort of like testing the structure of my house to see if it's still stress worthy and if not to replace the worn out brinks and beams, and to find out just how much of a peculiar person I have become.

For one thing I know that certain garments of good reputation have been cast off along the way. Reputation is almost a non entity in the life of a vagabond. It's as hard to define as grace. You can lose a reputation through a rumor or because you don't do what some people think you should do. Hence I don't worry about my reputation. If it means doors closed to me, so what, there's another door somewhere.

Character is another matter. It is only peripherally related to reputation. A person can have a lousy reputation and still have strength of character. Those who lack it, wimps and bullies, for example, have little idea of what a good character is made. But maybe they learn.

If one is fortunate enough to grow up with a good influence around them, the example of a good man or a good woman, building a character that is positive and harmonious is much easier. The rest of us have to work at it. It's a trial and error program of education.

Scraping through the ashes of one's past is a futile activity and I make repeated efforts to convince people not to do it. The only benefit to me is to uncover the echoes of things I did that let myself down, that tarnished my character. I call them echoes because they can only be real if they relate to the way I am and think and behave today. And that's where the overhauling comes in.

Self sacrifice should not mean turning over your whole life to take care of someone or something to the detriment of your own well being, not if love is involved. The best self sacrifice can mean giving up those ideas, beliefs, traits and habitual activities, some of which you may cherish but that are antagonistic to your own well being and those around you. That requires courage, discipline and a cold hard objective look at yourself.

Check the ground under your feet. Has any of it washed away? Check the bricks of your beliefs. Do any of them need to be replaced? Check the walls. Have you allowed any mental termites to get in? Check the staircase . Are your hopes and plans still sturdy? Check the roof. Are you safely protected from the storms of life?

So with the proper tools in hand, I hope, I've begun the overhaul to determine how much character I have left and to restore the rest. Wish me luck. (Good luck Vagabond.)

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up


Geo. said...

Good luck,DB! Your project sets yet another good example for me. As to reputation, I wish I could remember who said it first: Until you've lost your reputation you have no idea what a burden it was. --Perhaps Margaret Mitchell.

mrs.missalaineus said...

good luck- i feel sorta the same way as i start each new school year- i ask myself what do i need to 'unlearn' from last year to make this year go better? how can i serve the students i teach in a more effective way?


Ken Riches said...

You certainly a Character, so this endeavor should not be to hard :o)