“Good is all that serves life, evil is all that serves death. Good is reverence for life . . . and all that enhances life. Evil is all that stifles life, narrows it down, cuts it to pieces” (Erich Fromm).
FEW THINGS, IF ANY, GET BETTER ALL BY THEMSELVES. To the contrary, most things deteriorate unless somebody does something now and then to enhance them. To enhance means to augment something for the better, to make its value or its beauty greater. And that, really, is what our work in this world is all about. It’s not just maintenance; it’s enhancement. By the work we do, we have the privilege of improving the things we deal with. And it’s a fine thing to be known as individuals who enhance whatever we touch.
Appreciation for improvement. One of our major goals for personal growth ought to be the acquiring of a character that appreciates improvement. We must learn to see the value of working toward betterment. We must gain a greater vision of what can happen when we commit ourselves to adding value to all we deal with, little by little.
Enhancement of everything. With an appreciation for improvement, we then must be active enhancers. It’s more than an attitude; it’s an active endeavor. We might even say it’s a way of life. In this way of life, we don’t merely walk past that piece of litter on the sidewalk; we pick it up and place it in the nearest trash can.
Gratitude for grace. The people who are the most active enhancers are usually those who are possessed of a deep sense of gratitude for the grace that has been shown to them personally. And that’s no coincidence. In the end, that’s the great motive for helping others: the realization that we ourselves have been helped beyond our merits.
Sometimes, it’s surprising what enhances life. Just as certain herbs and spices only release their full zest when they’re crushed or rubbed together, we may find that the flavor of life is enhanced by events that may, at first, seem to be only irritants. When we view life with a basically appreciative attitude and respond to those around us with grace and respect, even our differences can make life more zestful. But then, it’s not life that’s being enhanced — it’s we who are.
“[My wife and I] sometimes had those little rubs which Providence sends to enhance the value of its flavors” (Oliver Goldsmith).