In 1977 I learned many lessons about “alcoholism” in a psychology class at Emory University. I learned more about myself.
One assignment was to volunteer at an alcohol addiction treatment facility in Atlanta. My first visit was on a Saturday morning. I walked in and introduced myself to a man sitting at a table. “I’m a college volunteer today. Would you like to visit some?”
The man turned, looked me over, and barked back, “Go home kid. You’re just a damned no-good do-gooder and we don’t need you here.”
“Hey, man,” I thought, “I drove here to be helpful and caring. You should be grateful, not angry.” I had been nervous; now I was confused. I couldn’t speak.
The man stayed silent as he held out his finger and pointed at my gut. I looked down at my daily college attire – yellow Oxford shirt, brown corduroy pants, and a “Coors” beer belt buckle.
Coors was cool in the East, because it was only distributed in the West. As the song “Desperado” put it, “you only want the ones that you can’t get.” Coors was cool, but I wasn’t. I was just a “damned no-good do-gooder” at an addiction treatment facility sporting a beer belt. I ran out in disgrace.
My inner desire to care did not match my outer appearance; the hypocrisy spoke volumes. Since then, I have sought to become more than a damned no-good do-gooder. I have sought God’s help to open my blind eyes. I have tried to pay attention and see how others might see the world, and respond to my actions.
When have your actions spoken louder than your values? How have you been blind to how others see? What steps do you take to bring your interior values and exterior actions into alignment?