I love this quote: “Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is watching.”
My dad taught me the importance of doing good deeds and not telling a single soul that you did them. Do you know how impossible this is? Not only can I not brag about my sainthood but I can’t even look up with the pleading “LOOK AT ME DOING AWESOME STUFF!” eyes while I’m picking up the garbage/helping the lady across the street. For the youngest child, attention-seeker, it’s pure torture. Try it–you’ll see what I mean.
Most of my close friends and family know this story: A few years back during a particular messed up time in my life, I was driving along River Road in Fort Langley and I pitched a full McDonalds cup of Diet Coke out the window of my van. Just like, littered the mutherfucker out all over the road, just like that. And as soon as the cup left my hands, something inside of me woke up, and it wasn’t pretty.
I knew in that moment that my heart had gone cold, and throwing my litter out the window, although a smaller crime along the grand scale of life’s fuckups, was a direct result of an unhealthy heart. That cup became a symbol, as it were, of my mess. My issues. My shit.
I was staring head-on into the darkest part of myself and I was filled with remorse, which thankfully, was soon replaced by a strong desire to change. It’s easier to do the right thing when everyone is watching, but it’s even easier to do the wrong thing when we know that nobody can see us.
Each cup that we litter brings our integrity down a notch and although it seems like a slow fade, you’ll notice that one day you’ll wake up and the symbol of the mess won’t be something as small as a littered cup. It will be much bigger, and it will hurt much more.
Not out of paying penance for my crime but out of a true desire to become a better human being, I began to do the right things when nobody was watching and guess what? The peaceful feeling (go, Eagles!) at the end of the night is more satisfying than standing on a stage having a million people chant my name. Because I know it makes me a full, loving Suzy… not an empty, needy girl.
And that’s something I can drink (Diet Coke) to.