I know a Catholic priest and monk (same guy) who has lived long enough now (he's in his mid-80s) to be able to say without regret or false sentiment that he no longer imagines any future for himself.
He is, he says, simply content to continue doing what he does until his time is up. In recent years, he says, he has learned to relinquish things. He used to be in charge of this or that. He used to write books and sermons. And he still does some of that, but he has turned over responsibility for many things to others.
And as he has moved through this end-stage of his life, he has been able to articulate three primary dangers to the human soul -- the lust for power, for prestige and for possessions.
Any one of the three, of course, can spell trouble, but in my experience anyone who lusts for one of the three also lusts for the other two.
This is a lesson this man is eager and willing to share with people he meets and with some of his former students and colleagues. He does it out of love and concern, not out of a sense of being the wise guru who knows all.
So I pass along my friend's concern about our lust for power, prestige and possessions to you today and ask whether you and I have made them idols in our own lives. It is a useful question for a columnist because I've often said that to write a column requires an ego about the size of Oklahoma just to imagine that anyone cares what we have to say.
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BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER K
And while we seem to be handing out advice about life here today, have a look at this graduation speech in which kindness, simple kindness, gets promoted. It's worth a read.