ASSINIBOIA - My Grampa Peterson used to tell me when I was a youngster staying with them on the farm west of town: “Grandson ... Always try your best to do the right thing. Never forget that integrity is the one thing that the world can’t take away from you."
Anyone who knew him well, knew that he was the real deal - an authentic man of integrity who practiced what he preached. I’m eternally grateful for the incredible man he was, and for his unconditional love.
No one could ask for more than that. Sadly, to my shame, I haven’t always been a shining example of Grampa’s advice. What I can say, however, is that when I did walk in a manner that would surely have pleased him, it was always the best choice and without doubt, the right thing to do.
Today, in the midst of this global pandemic we find ourselves in, integrity is often a quality that is sorely lacking.
I read recently of an affluent New York couple who were gifted a pair of preferred tickets to a smash Broadway hit. To their great surprise, the tickets arrived anonymously in an envelope slipped quietly under their door.
There was no note of explanation. Just the tickets. Of course, they curiously wondered who - of their many friends - had sent such a wonderful surprise. Delighted, they gladly attended the show and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Later that evening upon returning home to their luxurious apartment, they were stunned to discover they had been robbed in their absence. All of their valuables had been stolen. Furs, expensive jewellery, and cash from an unlocked safe hidden behind a painting on the wall, were all missing.
On a silk pillow at the head of their gigantic bed, was a quickly scrawled note. “Now you know!” That’s all that was written.
Not only did this wealthy, intelligent couple feel victimized, they were embarrassed at their lack of wisdom and poor judgement. We’ve all had moments where we lacked wisdom and made poor decisions.
It would be nice if they were too few to mention. It would be nicer still if we could trust everyone in the world. But that’s never going to happen. It’s a pipe-dream. How we wish it weren’t so.
Burgess Meredith, an American actor who lived from 1907 to 1997, crassly used to say about wishes: “You can wish in the one hand and crap in the other, and see which one gets filled first.”
All the wishes in the world, won’t make this planet a better place to live. Grampa often said when he was yet alive: “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.” I’m pretty sure he would also say that if this world is to survive - especially today - it will take wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and discernment.
It will also take integrity, extreme hard work, and always doing the right thing. Wrong is always wrong. And right is always right. That’s the way I see it, at least, from where I stand...