Is being good all it’s cracked up to be?

I’ve done my best to live the right way/I get up every morning and go to work each day …

I try to be a good person.

And it’s starting to kill me.

I have a bit of a Jesus complex in which I try to absorb the pain of those closest to me rather than see them suffer. In most cases, I would gladly sacrifice my own well-being to help them feel better.

It doesn’t always work, though.

Sometimes I feel ignored. Other times I feel like people take advantage of my goodwill. I think that might have happened this weekend. I’m not sure. Either way, I found myself in a position in which I should have walked away, leaving my sanity somewhat safer. Instead, I dove headfirst into the situation, sacrificing myself to help a friend (and ex-girlfriend, actually) who was hurting.

Now, it’s hurting me, and I can’t help myself. Maybe that’s why I’m writing, using this blog as a cathartic experience. I don’t know. I guess maybe I’m hoping someone, anyone, out there will have something to suggest, some simple piece of advice that will make sense.

But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold/Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode …

I should point out that I’m not always good. I guess maybe a truly good person doesn’t really have to try, but I never said I succeeded at being good. I merely try.

Some days I fail. I’ll admit that I can be the meanest son-of-a-bitch you’ve ever known, saying things that cut to the deepest core of your weaknesses. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes enjoy that. Hell, when those words come spilling out, it feels good. It always does.

But it doesn’t last.

It never does.

Explode and tear this whole town apart/Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart/Find somebody itching for something to start …

I guess I’m just glad I’m feeling something. I spent about three years on anti-depressants, during which time I truly felt no emotions. I gave them up four years ago, and since then, I’m just a walking ball of emotions, feeling high levels of everything. I’ve taken some major steps to rein everything in, but still, some people have suggested that I take it even further by reducing my connections to so many emotions.

I’m afraid, though, that such a move would change everything about me. These emotions make me want to be a better person, a better friend, a better boyfriend, a better son, a better brother, a better co-worker, a better everything.

But where do you draw the line? At what point do I just say, “That’s not my problem” and let you take care of your own mess?

I’m not sure I can.

More importantly, I’m not sure I want to.

The dogs on Main Street howl ‘cause they understand/If I could take one moment into my hands …

I live in a world where I’m taught to love everyone else. At my church, Faith Baptist in Georgetown, we believe in a mission to out-love the world, focusing less on fire and brimstone and eternal damnation and more on what we can do to make the world a better place by loving everyone. We’re definitely a “do unto others” type of congregation.

So, I guess if you believe in God (I do) and heaven (ditto), then it all pays off in the end. And every so often, little things happen every day to make you realize it might all be worthwhile in the here and now. Today, for instance, I came home from work to discover my neighbor had mowed my grass without expecting any compensation in return. “It’s just what neighbors do,” he told me.

I needed that.

In one simple gesture, this man I’ve known for all of two months made a profound difference in my day, lifting my spirits (and making my yard look fantastic). There’s nothing wrong with giving of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with being a good neighbor, both literally and figuratively.

Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man/And I believe in the promised land.

I guess I just want to believe more in that good things happen to good people. Light triumphs over darkness. Luke Skywalker not only destroys the Death Star but ultimately helps redeem Darth Vader, the epitome of evil. These things happen over time, though. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, and Vader wasn’t saved until Return of the Jedi.

I believe the payoffs will come, both in this life and the next. Call it karma. Call it fate. Call it divine intervention. Call it whatever you wish, but it will come. Maybe it will be in the form of The Right Woman, or maybe it will be a healthy, happy life for my three nephews, or maybe it will be something I can’t even imagine at this point in my life. I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t care. I just know that it will happen.

And right now, that’s good enough for me.


7 thoughts on “Is being good all it’s cracked up to be?

  1. I can understand your dilemma, I feel it myself at times, too. Sometimes you wonder when it’s your “turn” to be caught in the silver net of “let me help you with that”.

    It’s natural for a nurturer to feel more connected to those in their lives, even when those lives don’t cross on a daily basis. And don’t give me any crap that you aren’t the nurturing type, I know better.

    As for the verbal spewing-let it roll. Those who understand you, understand that too.

    Those who don’t—*next*.

  2. Ironically, I was having nearly the same conversation with a friend via text just a little while ago. He asked me to define “the right thing” and this is what I told him: “It is not defined. It is the feeling one has when ego and personal agenda are not considered when making a decision, taking an action, or reacting to some situation.” For some this may be the feeling one gets when putting their children first….for others, me and from reading your blog, you…it is the feeling you get when you’ve sacrificed yourself to do something good for someone who needs it. Probably, good then, is the feeling your neighbor had whiling mowing your grass today. Is the house on the other side of him for sale?

  3. Blah. That good guy stuff is for the birds. You need to come over to the dark side for awhile. We get to f the b’s, stay drunk all the time, beat up the hair police. ( I know you want in on that). You can do the repent thing later on. Jesus has to forgive you, it’s in the rule book.

  4. The most fucked up thing is that there is no “right” thing. Which is why we are all born screwed to a certain extent (and that shit’s in the Bible, except that don’t say fuck and call it ‘born into sin’ or whatever).
    You’re codependent.
    There’s nothing wrong with that.
    Except it will drive you fucking crazy.
    Like me.
    But, hey! There’s a bright spot for you. At least you don’t have a vagina. Seriously, you don’t know how much that benefits you.
    I love you and you were in ass to me, if that makes you feel better.
    You’re too conflicted about what society says you should do, i.e. you may watch too much T.V. But we all feel that.
    Seriously, look how you have to act at your job and shit. False fronts and shit drive you crazy. BUT if you don’t put up the front, they will haul your ass away for BEING crazy.
    Man, I sure helped with this.

    Too clarify, you were NOT “IN” ass with me, but “AN” ass to me.
    God, I love life sometimes.

  6. While being good and all of that is important, I’d like to take a moment to focus on the other blogs that your particular blog has suggested I might enjoy:

    Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

    * Spamalot
    * Pentagon Bomb Squad Chief Looks Back
    * Watch with Kristin – Spoiler Chat: The Hills, L…
    * Janet Talks Gay Rumors, Broadway and Drag Queens – Marc Malkin – E! Online

    So, let’s get this straight… if I’m good, I have to watch “The Hills,” talk shop with a guy from the Pentagon, dress in drag and stay up with Broadway and Janet (I’m assuming Jackson’s) sexuality.

    Man, fuck that… I’m just going to be mean with Ninja. Being good is too much work (and too many wardrobe changes).

  7. Pingback: Lent 2011: There Will Be Beard (OK, that’s not true; I just wanted to say that) | So … there I was

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