It’s well nigh impossible to assess the true character of a human heart...even one’s own. We use words (Oh, so many words!) to describe our selves, our wants, desires, ideals (and imperfections) to others. We go through life “self-characterized”, for the most part.
The face we reveal to the world is the face we primp and preen to present.
Words are our cosmetics.
I don’t really have a problem with that. I believe most of us want to embody our ideals. I believe we humans, for the most part, want to live peaceful, loving, noble lives. We certainly tell ourselves that, often enough. We assure others we are peaceful, honest, loving and noble people.
Then comes that “Watershed Moment
Wa-ter-shed (noun): 3. turning point
An important period, time, event, or factor that marks a change or division.
Ah, yes, the “Watershed Moment.”
One never knows when that watershed moment will come. One never knows if there will be just one...or many. One can never know one’s future. I’m pretty certain, though, that we will all face at least one true watershed moment in our lifetimes.
It’s easy to be virtuous, when virtue isn’t challenged. It’s easy to be faithful when faith is simply an abstraction. It’s easy to be chaste, when no one’s there to tempt us. It’s easy to sacrifice...when that’s your only option. We believe we are who we say we are...and all is fine and good...until that fateful watershed moment.
A watershed moment demands a decision, compels action.
A watershed moment can’t be bypassed or sugarcoated with words.
A watershed moment demands that we reveal our true selves...our essence.
Do I forsake integrity for money (power, sex, whatever)? Do I tend to the needy parent, or tend to my own life? Do I stay or do I go? Do I take responsibility? Do I not?
Oh, those watershed moments! They come without warning. They come when least expected. They ambush us when we are ill-prepared.
A man impregnates a woman. What to do? A hand reaches out for succor or mercy. What to do? Ambition conflicts with another’s dreams. What to do? The vow that’s now crushing you. What to do?
What to do?
In that watershed moment, in the blink of an eye, we reveal our true character. From that moment on, from that decision forward, we are who we demonstrated ourselves to be. From that point on, words no longer define us.
When all is said and done...we are what we do.
* * *And for those who found your way to this entry searching for a definition of "watershed moment" you can find my answer here.
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