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The Redeemed Social Condition

When I was first approached about the idea of doing a weekly column my mind instantly went wild with all of the possibilities.  Someone was really willing to give me a forum to discuss the inner-workings of my mind?!?—I’m going to set this world on FIRE!!!  Like a mad scientist, I went into the lab and started cooking up an idea that was going to shake things up and truly engage my readers in a way that no one has ever done.  I put in 15 milliliters of religion, 25 ounces of politics, and a dab of race issues just to spice things up!  People are going to go crazy when they read this!

Then it occurred to me—hasn’t this been done to death already?  Don’t people get tired of focusing in on all of the things that keep us all separate and unequal?  My message would be lost among the countless others who have tried the same approach.  So I decided to scrap the entire formula and come at it from an entirely different perspective.  I began to look through my journals for an answer when I came across this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

There was a reason that this quote compelled me to write it down many years ago only to stumble across it when I needed it the most.  Mr. Emerson was onto something.  His words challenged me to look at the purpose behind my existence; things beyond the money and material possessions. Why am I here? What have I done with my life?  So I began to make a list.  I laugh all the time, so we’re good there.   I’m still working on winning the respect of intelligent people and earning the appreciation of honest critics.  Although it seems sometimes that finding either of those is a task all onto itself.  I’ve certainly endured my share of betrayal of false friends.

And then there it was—to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition.  This thought resonates throughout my soul and washes over me like sunlight after many days of clouds and rain.  It inspires me to do my part, however small, to change the world that I brought my children into.  So I will dedicate my time and energy to the redeemed social condition.

In this weekly column I will discuss all the things that make this world a beautiful place, and what we can do to make it even better!  Together we can create a movement so powerful that it changes the very fabric of this universe—but I’ll need your help.  Spread the word and let’s get ready to do some good!  I look forward to hearing your thoughts, so please take the time to comment and let me know what’s on your mind.

Chris Derrick is a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a writer, and a citizen of a beautiful world.