Riches are a claim to distinction for those who have no other right to it. Ancestry is most important to those who have done nothing themselves. – Louis L’Amour, The Walking Drum
Louis L’Amour probably does not need an introduction; he is one of America’s bestselling writers. He is often dismissed merely as a writer of mass-market westerns, but this does not do him justice. True, the critic who said he would probably have benefited from a freshman composition course probably had a point, but L’Amour, completely self-educated, has insights into our human experience that for our money are surpassed only by Gore Vidal.
Today’s quote is one of those insights. It illustrates the only thing that matters in our life is living from the inside out. The size of our bank account and the accomplishments of those before us are superfluous. All that matters is are we making our time serve us? Are doing with our lives what we are meant to be doing?
There will come a time in our lives when that life must be examined. That time will probably be when our time comes to die. At that moment – the moment when we decide if we lived well or wasted our time – we are not going to ask ourselves if we made enough money and our ancestors, no matter how accomplished, aren’t going to do us a hell of a lot of good, either.
We are going to ask ourselves if we did well, if we did the things we were meant to do, or did we squander our time on this planet. I believe, though of course I don’t know for sure since I haven’t faced death yet, these questions are intuitive and will be asked by everyone, regardless of religious belief and whether or not there is an afterlife.
All of us were issued certain talents and ambitions at birth. To live well we must utilize them. We must not ignore them.
The life spent reacting solely to outside influences is wasted. When the time comes to examine our lives riches will not buy us a satisfactory answer nor will our ancestors provide any guidance. The only satisfactory answer will come from within. We will either answer yes, we utilized our time and our talents and spent our lives doing what we were meant to do or we will answer no, we did not do these things and we squandered our precious existence.
To an extent that might surprise some people, the choice is ours. All we need is the courage to put the talents we were born with to use. When we do that, what is meant to happen in our lives will happen.