Moral Quagmire

I was brought up in a household that held Victorian morals and attitudes in high regard. We trouped off to church in a small gaggle of high minded virtue, every Sunday and my sisters and I attended Sunday school on a regular basis. You would imagine I had a firm grasp on what was right and wrong; good and bad but you would be mistaken. As a child, I knew being wrong or bad was all about punishment. If I got caught doing one of the things deemed naughty by my parents, I was beaten or thrashed, depending on which parent was doling out the sentence. I became a furtive, secretive child with a burning core of rage. As I passed through childhood, I became clearer in my mind about the moral fibre I was so sadly lacking in; I knew I was a "bad" person. Once I had married and started my family, I tried to raise my sons with a good grounding in Christian values. One of my sons even sang in the church choir but I still knew, in my heart, I was not a good person. After twelve years, my marriage ended and I gave full expression to the immoral heart of me. It was only working in a home for the elderly that pulled me up short. I could see the vulnerability of these people who were nearing the end of their time on this planet. I became their champion, their friend and nurse. Finally, I understood what I must do in order to redeem myself. I became a "bad" person, striving to do good. Since then I have been the voice of the underdog; the broody hen of lost causes, if you like. I have stopped fights on the tube train, tongue lashed vandals into apologising and fronted bullies in the work place. So this leaves me with this burning question; is it better to be a "good" person, yet do nothing constructive to enforce that goodness, or a "bad" person, who tries very hard to do good things? I still live with a moral quagmire at my centre but I feel better about myself, regardless.   

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8 responses to “Moral Quagmire

  1. Robin

    Very moving and also very sad.
    Emotional and physical damage at an early age can have devastating affects on out lives.
    Hopefully we come through it and the scars do heal in time.
    Take care, and thanks for sharing.xxx

  2. Good Morning Penny, it is too late for me to properly reply. I so ‘get’ this but do not want to impulsively yabber.

  3. Pat .

    “Good” and “bad” are tricky concepts.
    However, I know that you are a good person who does good things (I see this in your words; in the posts you have made and especially in the comments you have made on other people’s posts).
    There is no such thing as a “good person” who does “nothing” – we are what we do.

  4. Pat .

    And your comment on my Live Spaces post confirms my opinion – thanks.

  5. Advocacy to break the silence is not in my bag of ‘bad’ and ‘good’. If no one had spoken up/out in WWII we would still having people marching to the ovens. It is a question of justice-making and not abuse – er, like if we enjoy taunting vandals – like not going as far as Michael Caine’s character did in his recent movie to ‘clean up’ his neighbourhood. I have seen to many abused children grown up believing they are ‘bad’ and working with seniors who survived torture etc. showed me how they felt responsible when they did nothing wrong. I am glad you found a heart of hope and courage working with older persons. Somehow there is always this place of unexpected healing. For me, it was in classrooms. Luv to you

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