The other day I listened in (not eavesdropping, but was a third party in a small space) to a conversation two moms were having about responsibility, being accountable, consequences. As you who are reading along know, these topics are close to my heart, so my ears perked up and I learned that while on a group excursion one of the mom’s tykes decided to lift a souvenir. Needless to say, he was ratted out and all hell broke loose. Hence the discussion.
I felt for the mom who had to cope with the news. She was clearly in a wrestling match with myriad feelings, the least of which was shame. But I could also see she was moving beyond it all, and falling back into ‘like’ with her kid again because, well, because that’s what parents do, not to mention that in the grand scheme this misdemeanor really isn’t a big deal. Caught and punished, the perp will decide whether a life a crime is worth it now that he’s a benchmark. I’d love a crystal ball to find out if he ever decides on a five-finger discount again. But I’m not making my point.
While I get the injured mom, the other mom, not so much. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not judging her values, but rather, mine. The other mom was determined to see punishment doled out with a heaviness of hand that still gives me shivers. There was little room for leniency. As I say, though, her response got me to questioning myself. Do I not have a moral compass at all?
Without being specific for fear of blowing my cover in the witness protection program (kidding), my life fits the adage, “There but for the grace of God…” I’ll go one step further and suggest that we all live in glass houses, yeah? Still, the discussion has me taking a look at myself from a slightly different angle.
Is there capital M moral and small m, moral? And where does retribution fit in?
I’m solipsistic. In other words, I think my own code correct regardless. It does not mean I’m not moral. On the contrary. But I don’t sweat the small stuff. And no, I do not believe that the occasional slippage means you’ll end up killing someone. However, if you decide to cheat a pensioner out of her last pennies, expect a big blot on your karma scorecard.
I’m not big on punishment at the best of times. Weakness? Perhaps. But I believe in the theory expressed in karmic philosophy and also that a guilty conscience is more destructive than any jail. Oh sure, there are tons of psychopaths skulking around, but I’ll let karma deal with them, too.
I sure don’t always behave appropriately, but am almost always willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. While I don’t always forgive myself readily, it’s easy for me to forgive others. I might not forget and go on to use a juicy experience as fodder for one story or another, but I forgive, always. That attitude stems from being misjudged and misaligned most of my life, I think. I really do not want others to hurt as I have.
So then, back to the question of Moral or moral. For certain, I’ve no doubt, I’m Moral. I strive to love, to give and receive it (working on both), and feel compassion for all believing that we are all one anywho. Ah, now the crux. I might not be moral. At least not in or through the eyes of another. And that’s where it does not matter – at all. For I dance to the drum beat that makes music for me, just as others must sway along to their own beats.
And with that, I wish for a compass that directs us always back home to our heart’s desire. There we cannot go wrong, do any injustice, ever hurt ourselves or another. When we breathe each breath to the beat of a heart that’s in love simply because it knows nothing else, we are incorruptible. Morally speaking that is. Ah ha!