Monday, February 7, 2011

Do the Right as We See the Right

We saw The King's Speech on the weekend, and discovered for ourselves why it's worthy of 12 Oscar nominations. This was Jason's pick for our date movie, as to say he is a history buff is the world's largest understatement, and to say that I don't enjoy historical films as a rule is dead on the money. In spite of those two things, we both loved this movie. Colin Firth makes anything better, and he was born to play King George VI, the insecure younger brother forced onto the throne and struggling to overcome a lifelong stammer and fear of speaking in public.

The story builds beautifully, developing the relationship between the King and his speech therapist as England hurtles faster toward the outbreak of World War II. The stakes are high when he delivers his first big radio speech, inspiring his people to be brave with war on their doorstep. One of the lines in his speech stood out to me, and gave me goosebumps. He said, "We can only do the right as we see the right."

In a year of immense personal change and upheaval, this simple statement, framed in the context of a global crisis, provided comfort to me. I can't worry about all of the things that are not under my control, and I can only do so much at any given time. I'm only responsible to make the decisions that I can see and understand at any particular moment. It's far too overwhelming to look beyond that.

It reminds me of the fantastic Maya Angelou quote, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” Step by step we can create change, which gives us forward momentum to improve day by day. We can't do it all at once, and that's okay. When we see something which needs to be changed, we can take action. Until we see it or recognize it, we can't fix it.

This thought relieved some of the pressure I put on myself to turn things around in my life. I can only do what is in front of me, and worrying about the rest simply drains my energy and divides my focus. I'm not expected to have it all figured out at this moment. That's what the rest of my life is for. But when I see what should be done or changed or fixed in front of me, I can work on that. I can only do the right as I see the right.

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