The good we do lives on forever. But our intentions disappear with the early morning mist.
There is a great little pub near the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois named Murphy’s. Famous for its cheeseburgers and fries, it has been a haunt of graduate students and alumni for the past 50 years. It is also known for the graffiti carved on its tables and written on other surfaces. One of my contributions once graced a booth. Some of the words reflect the transformation of hearts and minds. But my favorite one said this;
No regrets. No more apologies
This poetic wall-thought still speaks to me. It tells of mistakes, excuses, explanations, and justifications offered up over the young life of one embarking on a new journey, seemingly free of external pressure and expectations. It was a promise made which probably couldn’t be kept for very long. So it goes with most good intentions.
I know what is implied when they say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” But it seems rather counterintuitive that there would be a well-paved highway to fire and brimstone. The suggestion is that Old Scratch somehow uses what we fail to do for his benefit. Though all of that mythology is interesting, it is more likely that the paving project of good intentions falls under auspices of The Department of Individual Neglect. Everyone suffers when we allow the infrastructure of our hopes and dreams fall to waste.
Like hopes and dreams, good intentions require legs and wings. They have to be implemented with passion and hard good work. They cannot be compromised by expedient distractions but must be cherished, nurtured, and developed with discipline. Good intentions can be a cranky bugger. I guess this is why we let many of them go.