The Parable of Good Intentions

Before we started our lives here on Earth, I'm sure we had some sort of preparatory interview with the Big Man Upstairs. We probably sat in his office nervously, biting our lip and worrying about if we would like our parents.

"So it's your time to ship out," the Big Man says.

"Yes sir."

"When do you report for duty?" He asks.

"Next week, sir."

"You look a little green, ensign. Nervous?"


"Well, I won't be sending you down unprepared, soldier!" The Big Man walks around His desk and places a heavy hand on my shoulder. "After all, you've spent eons here in the pre-existence getting ready for this moment. You've done OK so far."

"Thank you, sir."

"And I never let a soldier ship out without some parting advice and a gift!"

I perk up a little bit. "Thank you, sir!"

"Here's my advice: keep your chin up, play fair, and be nice. Don't be scared of anything, even if the devil's shotgun is staring you in the face. Above all, return with honor."

"I'll try, sir."

"What's that, soldier? I can't hear you."

"I'll do it, sir!"

"That's more like it. And as for your gift...hmmmmm...well, I'll give you a good dose of 'good intentions.'"

"Thank you very much!"

"Well, yes," He chuckles, "We'll just have to see what you do with it."

My head fills with hope. "I'll do my best, sir!"

The Big Man shakes my hand and sees me to the door.

"Ensign?" He calls after me.

"Yes, sir?"

His voice is deep, his eyes sincere. "You can reach me any time, you hear that?"

"Yes, sir. Thanks again!"

And that was that. I headed down to Earth the following week, clutching my precious gift to my chest. The gift of good intentions! What a marvelous thing, I thought. As long as I had good intentions, then I would be a good person. As long as I had good intentions, I would do what is right and help others in need.

Ah, such naivete! I've come to realize over the years that the duality of the universe is a very tangible thing: black and white, good and evil, ying and yang. And of course, good intentions and subsequent actions---of which I have many personal experiences with. Why don't I follow through on my good intentions? Because I'm lazy.

(One of the laziest years of my life---freshman year in college.)

Every day of my life I think of nice things to do for the people around me, but rarely do I follow through. I see a homeless man begging for change and I walk by with the intention of giving him some money the next day. I think about writing a note to my roommate to tell her how grateful I am for her, but the thought slips through my mind. I want to bring some cookies to my visiting teachees, but I lose track of the time. Egads, Caroline! Why don't you finish what you set out to do?

And so my goal for this week (maybe I should make it a month) is to follow through on all of my good intentions. I want to bake some banana bread for my fellow volunteer whose great-grandmother passed away this week. I want to exercise everyday and eat healthier foods. I want to write letters to my roommates, expressing my appreciation for their friendships. Et cetera, et cetera.

I already have one story of success! I am volunteering at the Rally against Genocide this upcoming Sunday. The past few months I have wanted to help out with the situation in Sudan, but I've failed to come up with any solutions. Darfur has taken a backseat to sleeping, eating, and shopping. But enough! No more laziness. I'm going to be a volunteer at the rally and do whatever I can to help out (which isn't very much, but I need to try anyway.) It'll be a long day---12 hours!---but I'm so happy that I have this opportunity.

You are banished from my life, lazy Caroline!