From around 2000 B.C., in what is thought to be the oldest book of the Bible, the Book of Job.
The youngest of Job’s companions, Elihu speaks: “We can choose the sounds we want to listen to; we can choose the taste we want in food, and we should choose what is right.
But first of all we must define among ourselves what is good.” Job 34: verses 3-4
Look carefully and note the subtle difference in verbiage within these verses. Most decisions in life involve simple daily choices, as we are free to choose what to eat, or what we will hear. These are easy. Decisions that carry more moral responsibility are described as something we “should” choose- such as the decision to do right. Free will plays an even greater role here. But apparently an even more important decision needs to be made before any of these other choices are truly possible, and that choice is described as requiring a consensus, a group effort. A shared vision among us all.
How much of our time do we spend individually or as a society defining what is good? We certainly spend a lot of time focused on what we had, or who is to blame, or how to try and recapture what we once had. Reopen the economy. Avoid a recession. Rising unemployment figures added now to the daily update on deaths and ventilators. Or simply a growing fear (or denial) that many of us might not survive this pandemic.
“First of all we must define among ourselves what is good.”
So on this Memorial Day Weekend, take some time to think, to pray, to turn inward and listen to the Small Voice. Enjoy the beaches and barbecues, but wear masks and socially distance. Be smart, be safe. Open a dialogue with your family and friends and colleagues on what really defines “good” in their lives. Start to consciously make that the central focus on a daily basis. Slowly, surely. The rest will follow.
Peace and Health.