The following is an excerpt from ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’. It is one of my favorite flashbacks in the story. Read on, and you’ll find out why.
“You’re a writer Elizabeth. Turn the so-so good stuff into this juicy stuff your boss wants to read. I believe most people start off in the working world wanting to do good. Sometimes we meet so many not-so good people that we get tired and start to compromise. People start to say, ‘well if I do this one bad thing it will let me do two good things, so I guess it’s o.k.’ Then, what do people remember? The one bad thing. You have to take care of all the little stuff, and that will bring you to the big stuff. It’s like my flower garden, you see. I made sure I have good dirt. I give the flowers good fertilizer and maybe a little wine now and then. But what is it that I’m hoping for? Pretty flowers, yes? And you see the pretty flowers will come, if I take care of all the little things that need to be done. Sound good?”
“Sounds good. But, I know my boss will say ‘Elizabeth, join the real world, keep up with the times, it’s called progress.’ I can just hear him now.”
“Progress means moving forward to be a better person and to make things better for other people. Tell him that’s exactly what you will write about Elizabeth. You will write about this man who is trying to make progress. Capisce?”
This flashback was one of my favorites to write, because I’ve had to remind myself on my occasions to do the right thing, even when people of ‘authority’ have encouraged me to make the wrong choice. In life, we tend to get complacent and accept the belief that certain things are impossible change. The secret to living a good life is realizing you will never change others, but you can constantly change yourself. Everyone in life meets bullies and evil people. At times, our society will label this as a crisis; which leads to panics in communities or the justification that sometimes a wrong is necessary for the greater good.
I recall a quote from a biography written about President John F. Kennedy. He noted ‘When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters, one that represents danger and one that represents opportunity.’ I suppose Grandpa Frank would ask Elizabeth which character would you focus on during a time of crisis. More importantly, how would you like to be remembered after the crisis was over.
Wouldn’t it be a great if everyone viewed evil people or evil choices in our world as an opportunity to do the right thing; not to respond to evil with fear, hatred or greed.