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Do the right thing . . . just for the sake of it


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Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking. This is one of my favorite sayings. I was reminded of it last night when I saw it on the billboard of a local church in my neighborhood when I was driving home. This concept is so important to making this world go round that I think, without it, we would live in total chaos. We hope that people will do the right thing. We hope that they will help us, advise us, and be our advocate--all in our best interest. We rely on it. Just think what an act of faith this is. We really must trust each other.   

We hope in our most secret self we will do the right thing too, whether we get praised for it or not, whether we are rewarded for it or not, whether anyone even notices or not. And no one may. And still, we would do the right thing. We help because we can. We hold someone's hand because it gives comfort. We sit with our loved one, our client, or our patient, fully present and openhearted because we care and because we are there. We love because we can love. And the reward is the doing of it. The one we are giving to may be conscious or in a coma, but we still encourage, coax, and prod them to well-being. Because we do. Because we can. We are given this opportunity to uplift, inspire, and champion our friends, our families, and even perfect strangers, whether we are the president or a plumber. We can gift our world by doing the right thing with no expectation except the honor of doing it.

Sometimes that is the only reason to do a good job--because you know it is right. I believe this world would turn upside down if there weren't a majority of good people out there living this. Nurses, doctors, bookkeepers, therapists, teachers, lawyers, police officers, clergy--and you--all of these good people that we put our trust in are given this daily opportunity to uplift and to love. Can you feel the awesome responsibility of this? Can you feel the awesome privilege of this? What will we do when someone puts their trust in us? We will do what is right. We take a deep breath and care about them because they are somehow connected to us. We have the unique and wondrous opportunity to give aid, to help, and to love them.

What is more valuable than this? What greater gift is there? To be trustworthy, to come through as best we can is our privilege and our grace. It is a way we can practice living a conscious and spiritually driven life.

So today is Monday and with it comes another opportunity to live as love. We meet the day with courage and hope, knowing that our good works will often go unnoticed, and that it matters not at all. We do it because we can, because it is who we are. We add our goodness to this big, beautiful world, and not one person may know. But you will. And every time we make this choice again, we make this world a little better.

Editor's note: Diana Lang's column appears on Mondays. For more information on Lang, the relaxation expert at StrategiesforNurseManagers.com, please visit her Web site at www.dianalang.com.