Do I do good because I really want to or because I really want something? This is a question I have asked myself many times over the past few years as I continue to do my best to give back to this world rather than take from it, even in light of all my ongoing pain and suffering.
Up until 2010, before any of my severe pain and suffering began, I was still quite a selfish being, taking more from this planet than giving back, living more for myself, than for others. When the first bout of physical pain hit in late April of 2010 that would begin my long journey of suffering, I resisted changing anything about myself and thought I could just wait it all out. When a year passed, and then another, and the pain and suffering didn’t end, my heart started to open, and as it did, I truly began to see just how selfish of a person I had been for most of my life. I saw how all the good I had done prior was usually because I really wanted something, whether that was to get noticed, to gain some type of glory or recognition, to receive compensation, or to achieve some other type of agenda. It was rare that I did anything where there wasn’t an angle, where I wasn’t seeking something in return.
But pain and suffering have a unique way to shift a person’s energy field completely and as the years went on with it remaining a part of me, I found myself striving to do good more and more, without any expectations or hidden agendas. Volunteering my time to help others became something I simply wanted to do, not because I had to do or because I was hoping to get something out of it.
Yet, I’ve endured a solid nine years now of pain and suffering that still seems like it has no end in sight and as I continue to sponsor others in recovery, to volunteer both at a local jail and a local crisis center, and to carry positions of leadership in the 12 Step groups I belong to, I have pondered what might happen if all my pain and suffering suddenly went away? Would I still want to do good? Or was my underlying motive all along for me to do all the good I’ve been doing for years now been to gain God’s favor, to restore my health, and my sanity?
If you want me to be perfectly honest, then my answer to this is that I don’t know. I don’t know what my life would be like if my pain and suffering suddenly went away. I don’t know if my motivation would still remain the same to give back to this planet rather than take from it. I don’t know because all I’ve known is pain and suffering and a burning desire to help others who are in pain and suffering, so long as I have enough energy to keep doing it. As there are days where my pain and suffering get so great, I am forced to remain home and take care of myself.
Nevertheless, I know I want to feel far closer to God than I do in life these days. I know I want to feel far healthier in life than I do these days too. But, is there some part of me that’s driven to do all the good I do, solely because I want those things, or solely because I’ve been transformed from the once quite selfish and self-centered person I used to be most of the time.
I don’t have those answers, and often ask God to give me a chance to experience my life without this pain and suffering, to show Him I’ll still do the good I do so prevalently now. Sometimes I think God keeps me in this pain and suffering because He has seen me freed of this pain and suffering, returning to the selfish being I used to be. But, seeing God in that way is not a very unconditionally loving God and, on some level, is more looking at God as the controlling and punishing mother I used to live under.
Regardless, I don’t have an answer to this question at this time. While I’d like to believe I spend the majority of my life these days doing good simply because that’s who I am now, I’m plagued with ego-based fears that tell me I’m still that same selfish and self-centered person below all this pain and suffering. I really hope the latter isn’t true and that when God lifts my pain, because I believe He will, that I’ll find myself with this same drive to give back, to do good, every, single, day, without wanting or expecting anything in return…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson