A member of our choir with whom I sing every Thursday evening, moved to another city a few days ago.
It was a huge promotion for him but it left me very sad.
Our choir will miss this brilliant musician with an outstanding voice…
but that is not why I am sad.
I am sad because I had a strange encounter with him on the last day he attended choir practice.
I arrived at the parking lot for choir practice just about 10 seconds before he did.
There was only one parking spot left, so I naturally was entitled to use it and he would have to go on the street.
I did not know he was leaving the city, but something inside of me said, offer him the space. Let him have it. This is an opportunity to make someone feel special.
But I was not big enough, humble enough nor gracious enough to forgo my own convenience.
So I quickly pulled into the space and glanced longingly at him as he drove off in the rain in search of other parking spaces on the street.
I always remember that evening with a tint of regret. I really wished I had the largeness of heart to have backed down and offered him the space even if I was entitled to it.
That was his last practice with us and as I said goodbye to him for the last time, deep inside I felt that I had let myself down.
I had an opportunity to practice love, grace, humility and generosity but I wasted it.
Please note that I refused to give him the parking spot for a good reason.
I was first. I was entitled to it.
I could have gone the extra mile for him but I had a good reason to deny him the space.
When you are prompted to be compassionate and generous, there is always a good reason to do the ordinary and expected thing but the mark of greatness is to believe so deeply in the practice of compassion, empathy and generosity that no matter how good the reason to be selfish, you follow the superior path.
Nietzsche said if you want to be more than merely one of the masses, you must cease to be easy on yourself.
You will have an opportunity to give when you have little or to give in when you are right and let the other person win, or to go the extra mile and let the other person look good.
In those moments you will be tempted to forgo that opportunity, cater to your own interest and just do the ordinary thing.
Let this little note remind you to always look out for the highest good of others.
As the philosopher Emerson advised, “Consent your self to be the organ of your highest and noblest thought”.