Wise Words for Today

Autumn on Appalachian Trail
Image by Frank Kehren via Flickr

Humans have been endowed with an internal moral compass, an innate sense of right and wrong, “a conscience,” that ultimately affects every decision we make. When heeded, this sense of direction helps us stay on our life’s course. It is also a sense that nags at our soul whenever we make less-than-wise decisions – erroneous choices made despite every ounce of information, intuition, and common sense we possess. This uniquely human characteristic is often pushed into the recesses of our psyches when we are presented with options that seemingly offer us an easier, or more attractive, route to personal satisfaction. We also purposely throw circumspection to the winds and allow our egos to blur the edges of good judgment in direct contradiction to what our conscience is telling us. No matter how hard we try, that innate sense of right and wrong will not allow us to interminably rationalize our wrong decisions. We cannot overcome that visceral nagging that affirms that we chose incorrectly and that we will eventually suffer some types of consequence – even if it is nothing more than our own self-loathing. Every attempt to feign knowing better or insisting that the guidance given to us was bogus, or outdated, only makes matters worse. It is the very weight of our conscience, the response of our moral compass, which forces us to re-evaluate our decisions, regain our sense of direction, and gently persuades us to backtrack along our ill-chose path. Then, with confidence and a clear conscience, we can move forward in the right direction.

Randy Motz and Georgia Harris

(from The Walk: Reflections on Life and Faith from the Appalachian Trail)


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