The other day while I was working, I kept the television on low. Having it on during the day is a rare thing for me. Usually I just have soft “elevator music” playing or silence.
Anyway, I couldn’t find Mark Harmon in”NCIS,” so I put “Criminal Minds” on ALL day long. I didn’t really “watch” any of the television shows until the 5:00 p.m. episode. “Riding the Lightning” was about a couple on death row for serial-murder convictions. Gideon and Hotch interviewed both of the criminals during the hours before their executions. The goal was to find out if there were other people the couple had killed and where the bodies could be found. The twist was that Gideon suspected the woman was completely innocent.
As the story progressed, I was sucked into watching it and letting my work just sit for awhile. By the time it got to the end, we found out that the woman had not killed her son nor had her husband who was the boy’s father. The mother was afraid that the father would kill her son because he had killed so many people. The only way she could keep her son alive was to let other people raise him and let everyone else believe that her son was dead.
By the time “Criminal Minds” ended, the mother was about to be put to death. The Criminal Minds’ team had found the son, but was waiting for Gideon to give the okay to tell him that his real parents were alive. The mother begged Gideon to let her die so that her son would live without the knowledge that his father was a serial killer. Gideon struggled with the decision, but in the end let the mother walk into the chamber to be put to death.
In a roundabout way it reminded me of the story in the “Bible” found in 1 Kings 3:16-28. It’s a story about two prostitutes and King Solomon. When one prostitute’s newborn son died, she switched him with the other prostitute’s newborn son who was still living. The mother of the living child knew what had been done, so they both went before King Solomon with the living child.
While standing in front of the king, the story was told. Wise King Solomon said that the living child was going to be divided. He would give one half to one mother and one to the other because he didn’t know which woman was lying. Of course, the real mother begged the king not to divide the baby and instead give the other woman the living child. The mother of the dead child told the king to go ahead and divide the child. By the women’s actions, King Solomon knew that the real mother would not want her child killed and was willing to sacrifice her motherhood to the other woman in order for the baby to live.
In verse 27, King Solomon said, “Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.”
The woman in “Criminal Minds” was willing to die so that her son could live untouched by the evil of his father just the same as the prostitute in King Solomon’s time was willing to give up her motherhood in order to save the life of her son.
“What we do for ourselves
dies with us.
What we do for others and the world
remains and is immortal.”
~ Albert Pike ~
This episode of “Criminal Minds” has really rested heavy on my mind.
When you hold the door open for an elderly couple, read a story to a child, cook a meal for a sick friend, or give someone money to help them get back on their feet, you are doing something that will make a difference in someone’s life. You are not the direct recipient of any reward, but it usually feels good to help other people.
“What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Holding the door open, reading and cooking are relatively easy things to do. Most people would agree that they are also worthy acts of service. But what about those acts of service that you give and no one else agrees that the person is worthy of your sacrifice?
Where do you draw the line?
Do you follow your gut feeling or ignore the crowd even if logic seems to be on their side?
There is not a cut and dry answer to the question. Each situation is different, but I have an opinion. Shocked to hear that, right?
I believe that each of us has a purpose to fulfill and no one else can dictate or define that purpose. I have been faced with choices in my life where the answer to my dilemma seemed impossible to figure out. Everyone else seemed to know EXACTLY what I should do, but inside I was torn with the choice because what I felt was right completely opposed the general crowd’s thoughts.
When those types of situations arise, what should you do?
I don’t know if there is any one right answer to this question, but I will share with you how I handle this type of conflict.
- Listen to everyone’s opinion. I don’t agree or disagree with them initially. The logic behind listening is to actually get the feedback from people who have other life experience. Maybe they will shed light on the situation in a way that I hadn’t thought of or their past experience will cause me to see the situation differently.
- “Research” the options.
- Pray and mediate about the situation.
- Tear the situation apart with the pros and cons of all choices.
- If the choice I must make is a HUGE life changing one, I usually cry about it at this point because I’m filled with fear that I will make the wrong decision.
- Listen again to the logic of a few of the people who are closest to me.
- Decide, but don’t do anything about it for a few days while I see how the decision feels.
- Make my decision known and act upon it.
Usually my decision is not what the crowd wanted me to do. The gut feeling that I felt at the beginning is what guides me down the narrow road to the unknown. Those decisions have not always turned out as happy endings. Most of the time, however, I know why the right choice was my gut instincts. Unfortunately, the right choice often has a high price that is paid by me.
Although I end up losing much, I think I also gain something intangible inside my soul. Those crossroads in my life have made me a better person. Now I see life, love, relationships, and people COMPLETELY different than I did many years ago.
Giving up something that you want to keep or do so that you can give or do something else to help someone.
There really isn’t a price tag you can put on that kind of service. Some of those acts of sacrifice will brighten the day for someone or it could save their life. You may never know what effect your actions make, but it doesn’t matter in the whole scheme of life. I believe we should all listen to our gut feeling and that little voice in our head. Those inspirations are there for a reason. It’s up to us to act on them.
The quieter we are, the easier it is for us to hear the right answer.
My suggestion is to take twenty minutes each day and be in silence. No television, radio, telephone or computer. Just you, silence, thoughts and inspiration. It’s amazing the things you hear when everything gets really quiet. Try it. Enjoy peace and the growth you experience by helping others in need.