How big is good?

One hot summer when I lived in a crowded city, I was jolted from sleep every night at 3:00 a.m. by loud rock music blaring from a neighbor’s window. I tried closing my window, but it was much too hot. I tried calling my neighbor’s landlord, but could not reach him. My shouts across the alley could not be heard above the din. Even calls to the police brought no relief from the nightly onslaught.

Maybe you’ve had an experience like this and you’d like to improve your relationship with your neighbors. Perhaps there’s a conflict in your family, workplace, or community you’d like to see resolved. What I learned from the situation I just described is that we need to ask and answer the question: How big is good? 

That is a crucial question, for few things affect our relationships with others more profoundly than our concept of good. The material senses constantly present a limited, material picture of good—as a commodity affordable to some but not to others, an attribute that exists here but not there, a meager allotment that will not stretch enough to go around. 

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A rising tide lifts all boats
July 23, 2012

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