Ultimate Freedom = Ultimate Responsibility

Posted by Dave

I had the honor this past weekend of emceeing an event honoring a couple whose durable marriage and history of service to family and community earned them a long-overdue tribute dinner.

Like most such events, this one was set to consist of a time for guests to enter and visit with the couple, followed by the meal, a brief program from me, and then an opportunity for family and friends to offer their comments and toasts.

Prior to the event, the honorees entrusted me with the responsibility of pacing the evening. And – when I say “entrusted” – I mean that they handed the reins of their special night to me. Such assurance is rare in my business – I almost always have a chairperson or party planner who outranks me. Their faith was very liberating. It gave me the flexibility to run the show, based on my years of experience. If I thought it was time to move on to the next item on the agenda, no one was going to second guess me. I have to admit, it felt really good.

For about five minutes.

Then the realization soaked into my thick cranium that – if this party bombed – there would be little doubt who was to blame. It would be yours truly, and nobody else.

Fortunately for me, things went pretty well. At least, the guests of honor seemed pleased.

But it made me realize – for the very first time – how Newton’s Third Law of Motion (“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”) affects our daily lives.

How many college freshman are so thrilled to be “free” of parental constraints, that they flunk out their first semester? They overdose on the freedom, without accepting its equal and opposite: responsibility to show up for class and study.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that – while I didn’t technically “flunk out” my first semester – I didn’t wow anyone with my mature behavior, either.)

However, the older I get, the more I agree with Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore:
I slept and dreamt that life was joy / I awoke and found that life was service
I acted and behold, service was Joy.


Comments are closed.