Posts Tagged ‘favor’

The presence of obligation

January 1, 2011

Well, it’s the new year and, no, I don’t have a single resolution. I left resolutions lying by the side of the road when I took my first steps down my reality path. They are probably all still lying there in a jumbled decaying heap occasionally oozing out a noxious trickle of good intentions gone bad.

It was the obligations that wore me down. Once I make a resolution, I feel obligated to fulfill it. As the year makes its relentless appearance day after day after day, the new resolutions I make tangle with the old ones and suddenly my life is full of these obligations to myself, to others, and to imagined beings I think hold the key to my destiny. Often, they are contradictory and in direct conflict with each other. Sometimes, taking good care of me means saying “no” to someone in need and exiting the presence of nasty people.

My personal scrutiny discovered that obligations are not always solidly and clearly defined. They tend to get amorphous, bordering between the wants and choices and the musts and shoulds. It also does not matter. An obligation is a burden. It is a burden made by some agreement.

My obligations can come from a sense of love or duty. I feel obligated to contribute to my granddaughter’s well-being. I let elderly people or people holding babies have my seat on the Metro train when it is crowded.

My obligations are delivered through course of law. I am obligated to drive my vehicle safely in a manner that does not endanger others. I am obligated to pay taxes on my income.

There is an obligation that is a debt . . . it is attached to the favor that someone did for me. The bank lent me money to buy a car and I am obligated to pay the bank back. If I ask someone for a ride to work, I feel obligated to contribute towards the gas.

What about favors that people do for me that I do not ask for and do not expect? Is gratitude enough of an obligation or am I obligated to return the favor in kind? What about people who upon first appearance seem to be causing me problems yet as I work through the problem, I discover something amazing about myself or end up helping another person? What obligation do I owe that person who first appeared to stir things up?

Some people are out there doing favors for others with the expectation that the favor will come back to them in some form. Are they then being truly altruistic or is the favor really a bribe to the universe?

Because I have resources, am I obligated to share those resources? And, if so, with whom? When?

So many questions . . . and it isn’t even noon yet.

The year is already laughing at me.

Typical.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass