Larry Jordan

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I Never Sold My Soul, but I Rented It Out a Few Times

Aug 06, 2022 by Larry Jordan, in The Way

In my fifties, I realized how single-minded my life had been, focusing on myself, my family, and my friends.

When I say that I never sold my soul, I mean that I always tried to be a good person and a good husband/father/friend or boss/coworker/employee, and that I never killed anyone. 

At the same time, even if I had been a good husband/father/friend, because that’s what I was supposed to do, or a good boss/coworker/employee, because that’s what I was paid to do, I can count on one hand the times that I have really reached out to someone else.

Think about that. 

If I lived right for five days in fifty years, what had I done with the other 20,000 days that I lived, and what would I do with the other 10,000 days that I still hoped to live?

In the Bible, there is a haunting story about a rich young man, who cannot bring himself to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. I saw myself in that story, and I wondered whether my house or my job or my lifestyle was that important to me, too.

If the average person makes less than $2.00 a day, how could I wonder if I had enough? Was it possible that I had too much, which might mean that someone else had too little?

If I waited until it was cheap or easy or safe to do the right thing, then I might never do it or it might no longer be the right thing, since the right thing is rarely cheap or easy or safe.

This is not a Christian concept; it is a universal concept. Show me your guru or monk or mullah or rabbi, and I’ll show you an Arabic or Hebrew or Pali or Sanskrit text about the notion of dying to self. In plain English, as Rick Warren says, “It’s Not About You.”

For some, life and work can balance or coexist or even integrate, but for me, work meant spending 80-hour weeks among strangers, in airplanes and hotel rooms and rent cars.

So, I burned the boats and took a swan dive out of a corner office, to recover some balance in my life.