The following is an excerpt from an entrance essay I wrote to a nearby college a while ago. Enjoy.
There is an inescapable truth to the world in which we live: every person that is born must also die. But it is neither the situation of our birth, nor the circumstances of our death which make us who we are; it is the manner and quality in which we live our lives that defines us.
Unfortunately, it is also true that the manner in which one lives, whether it be righteous, wrongful, or indifferent, does not always translate into the quality of life which one enjoys. There are those who govern their lives by a strict moral code, and appear to reap all of life’s rewards as payment. We call them the Blessed. There are those who live wrongfully, and cheat their fellows, yet appear to reap equal reward regardless. We call them the Corrupt. There are those who abdicate virtue, and appear to be punished with misery and deprivation. We call them the Damned. And finally, there are those who live righteously, and uphold the Rule of Law, yet are made to suffer regardless. We call them the Destitute.
It is the Destitute, whose unwavering moral rectitude is constantly confronted by a deluge of depravity, who are to be most pitied. Furthermore, it is incumbent upon us, who have the means, to discover within us the Will to raise up our fellows in just reward for their virtue.
I speak, not merely of material goods, but also of matters of the Spirit. There are those among us whose greatest worry is not a leak in their roof, or a deficit in their bank account; it is a crack in their very soul, left by some sudden trauma or the slow decimation of affliction. These people are all around us. They live next door to us, work in the same offices, shop at the same stores, and watch the same television shows. And every day they struggle, alone, with a demon in their mind.
To offer them succor, would be such a simple thing. It costs us nothing to listen; it costs us nothing to love; and for so many whose hearts are overcome with sorrow, compassion is the only coin they require. To stand, just for one moment, shoulder to shoulder with someone who has looked into the face of Darkness and say to them, “You are not alone,” is the greatest gift any person can give. And it costs us nothing.