Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Hope Thief

One of my biggest pet peeves, which if you’ve followed this blog long enough you’ve heard many of them, is people who like to take short-cuts.  You know who I’m talking about - people who want all the rewards in life without having to do any or much of the hard work required to get there; the quick-rich schemers, the short-cut takers, the hustler, the entitlists and the lazy.   But even that – in and of itself – is not what really quirks me, but when these same people try to lead others to walk down the same path – promising quick prosperity and success, which they cannot guarantee.  When these followers fall, their hope falls with it, making the leaders - thieves of hope.

What did the old proverb say?  “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in a dishonest way, He himself will fall into his own pit; but the innocent will inherit the good.” (Proverbs 28:10)  You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar to see this at work in the world.  I see it every day in one form or another, and it breaks my heart.  Not because of the innocents who get duped, but it’s the perpetrators who hurt themselves more than anyone else. 

Here’s an example:  A writer, more specifically an impatient and undisciplined writer, with a fantastic story idea,  goes out and pays for someone else to edit or ghostwrite their story, and then sits back and reaps the prestige and prosperity of someone elses' hard work.  I see this done on a daily basis.  I don’t pity the editor or ghost writer, because they reap the benefits of their labor by receiving payment for services rendered, but I do pity the writer.  They only hurt themselves by not putting the time, energy and effort into learning all they can about their craft, training themselves to be in a constant state of sharpening their skills and obtaining the experience and knowledge to be better writers.  They rob themselves.  But the kicker, the thing I find abhorrent, is these same writers encouraging other new writers to follow in the same path of destruction.  

Whenever I come across a novice writer with a hunger and desire to be a great writer, I am glad to share what little knowledge and skill I have already obtained, in hopes of increasing their knowledge and skill.  I will work with them, sow into them and spend part of my valuable time to encourage and inspire them.  But I won’t DO it for them.  I won’t rob them of the practice and discipline they need to learn.  This goes for every other area in life, as well.  Perhaps we should spend less time carrying people around who refuse to walk, and spend more time helping those to stand who keep hoping they’ll one day learn to walk.  I believe all things are possible, and that no one who clings to hope is too far gone to receive a miracle.   I don’t mind being a crutch for little while, but I refuse to be someone’s bed.   

Don’t get me wrong – I find it very painful to watch someone fall and then refuse to get back up, burying all hope.  I have to push my emotional compassion to the side and remind myself that walking away is better than breaking my back trying to carry them.  Because trying to carry them in my own strength will kill us both.  What about you?  Do you help others to help themselves or do you do everything for them? If so, aren’t you tired? 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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