Norman Crook was the Executive Director at Bethany in the 1970’s and 80’s and he used to write an article entitled “The View From My Window.” I’m not certain if I am looking out the same window that he once did, but I do have a pretty nice view of downtown Haverhill, and some days it can be very interesting. For the past several months I’ve been watching a new 10-story apartment building being constructed from the ground up. My view has changed quite a bit during this time, and I’m reminded on a daily basis that I am more suited to work in an office than on top of a building. God bless those workers who are outside in all elements, including windy days. No thank you! My office chair is quite comfortable and the air conditioning works (some days).
When I look out my window, I also see the Haverhill bus station and a public parking lot. At any given time there might be between 2 and 50 people loitering in the lot or waiting for a bus. I’ve heard a lot of things over the years - fights, saxophone music, singing, car accidents, fire trucks and ambulances…as they say, there’s never a dull moment.
Sometimes when I gaze out the window I realize that no one is looking back at me. From my perch on the 4th floor it doesn’t seem anyone thinks to ever look up. I could watch them for an hour and I don’t think anyone would ever know. This “view from my window” reminds me of the definition of integrity. As a child I was taught that integrity is “what you do when no one is watching.” Do you do the right thing for the right reasons? Or do you decide to take a short cut because no one will ever know the difference? We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Although in my case, I’m not sure it would matter if the people below knew I was watching or not.
Maybe in the past we’ve made a decision that we don’t feel good about. Perhaps we took a shortcut. Maybe we didn’t do the right thing. I’m fairly sure that’s true for everyone. If that’s the case, then seek forgiveness if you’ve offended someone, look to make amends, and forgive yourself. Life is too short to carry around guilt and regret. The weight gets heavier with each passing day. And going forward, do the right thing. Just remember that someone is probably watching, even if you don’t think so.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” ~ C.S. Lewis