Living in Community for Community
After only being at Northwestern for a month, I was headed back to campus from my first Lifelight concert, and I got pulled over for the very first time. I had been speeding, not realizing it, but on top of that, my mom had forgotten to renew the registration on her car that I was driving, so I received two tickets instead of one. The officer was very gracious and lenient and reduced the fine I had to pay. I went into the courthouse and on the counter were a few quotes that I immediately took a picture of because they related to this very assignment. One quote was “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can…. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible…” by George Shaw. Shaw is saying that we should serve our community and live for the betterment of others.
Another quote I found was “Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people” by Dennis Prager. This quote spoke to me mostly because as a Christian, I want to be morally good, and this quote describes very briefly some characteristics we can use to treat others in a way that will show our good nature. Like these quotes, I believe we are to live in this world in the same way, for our neighbors and not ourselves, with respect, charity, grace, and a mentoring hand.
First, we are to live with a respect for others that is both expressed and unexpressed. In terms of an unexpressed respect, we must live with an attitude or way of thinking much like Charles Swindoll, an evangelical Christian pastor and author, who says attitude “is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.” As members of society, we must work to better our communities, and that requires a positive attitude to build others up and not break them down. These respectful ways of thinking can be difficult, especially when people who do not agree with each other or come from different backgrounds are together. These differences need to be addressed with an external respect of fairness and generosity and not solely with reservation.
In The Chosen by Chaim Potok, the main characters Danny and Reuven, become best friends even though they are different in many ways. When they first met, Danny and his baseball team were dressed in white shirts and sweaters with dark pants and skull caps. They also had earlocks “in the fashion of the very Orthodox” (Potok 16). In contrast, Reuven “had no particular uniform,” and his team “wore whatever [they] wished: dungarees, shorts, pants, polo shirts, sweat shirts, even undershirts” (Potok 16). Their difference in appearance resulted in assumptions and judgments that contributed to the tension between them....