You've probably seen a piece floating around the internet titled "Anyway." Apparently it is based on eight of the ten "Paradoxical Commandments" written by Kent M Keith in 1968.(http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com)The version I've shared below is the shorter one that Mother Teresa had up on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta.
When I'm in a snarly mood (usually because I'm over-tired) and feeling like an imaginary deal whereby I was promised some kind of reward for doing the right thing has been thwarted, this piece is very helpful. It reminds me that behaving well is something I would really like to do for my own sake.
But, at other times- times when by grace I am more centred and less confused- I long for something a little more affirming of the human potential for goodness and sanity.
So I wrote a piece in response to the "Anyway" version of "The Paradoxical Commandments," not as a criticism or a rebuttal, but perhaps as a companion piece. Grateful for the creative stirring the original offered, I don't think one replaces the other. People are at times unreasonable, self-centred, unkind, dishonest etc. And. . . people can also be reasonable, generous, kind, honest etc.
Some of the time we need to be reminded that what matters most needs to be done without promise of reward for its own sake. And, at times, we are able to truly see the best in ourselves and others.
People are often unreasonable and self-centred.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
and lean into each other's happiness when ours is hard to find.
Oriah House (c) 2014