“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The saying simply means that good ideas or thoughts lead to negative consequences that were unintended. A person begins with good thoughts, promising to themselves to do the right thing, however, priorities in life change, time becomes a limiting factor, and alas, the good intentions go astray.
But how could that be? If ones intentions are good and honorable, surely the expected – and obvious -outcome would be positive and desirable…right? Wrong! It took me 30 some years to get a general understanding of what that adage meant. Once I started my own charity and working with other charities, I finally understood it completely.
For the last few weeks I’ve watched a friend struggle with raising funds for a project that he’s working on. He’s one of those ‘do-gooders’: people that think that they can change the world with their caring and philanthropy; who cry at the top of their lungs against social injustice wherever and whenever he encounters it. You know the ones…those cut from the same cloth as that KONY2010. Silly chap. He ought to know that trying to bring justice and order into this world will drive you mad, or at least leave you high on prescription pills and madly masturbating alone in your vehicle after the entire globe has rebuffed your efforts to end an atrocity in a particular corner of the world. (He’s only 32. He’ll discover this on his own soon enough.)
The project that he’s on seeks to create social awareness by asking people how they can become a transforming force in their environment. He wants to chronicle their responses and film their interactions for a short documentary. He only needs to raise $2000. Once he sent a heartfelt email to trusted friends and advisors, support started flowing in.
“Oh! You can count me on board!”
“I believe in YOU and I believe in this project! Put me down for $300!”
“You go boy! What an awesome job!”
With spirits lifted, he waited patiently for the promises of donations to come in. They never came. So he sent out another email a few days later to coincide with pay day. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that the person making the loudest declaration for the largest sum had suddenly gone very quiet.
I felt for my friend, because I’ve been in the same position. Unlike me, he has not given up on his vision. I’ve been on stage, begging bowl firmly in hand, spouting a sob story about children in Africa and how a donation of $50 would radically change their lives. And for a little while, it worked. Some people gave a one-time donation and many more pledged to become monthly donors…the key word being ‘pledged’. I waited and waited for those pledges to come through so that I could transfer the funds to the hospital my team was supporting in Accra. I waited in vain until I finally gave up waiting.
My friend has yet to give up.
Perhaps he will when the next phase of building the road to Hell is enacted. When those laden with good intentions peek in to see how the erstwhile beloved project that they vehemently believed in (but never funded) is going.
“So! How’s it going?” they ask breathlessly, hoping that you were able to raise all the money you needed, sans their promised support.
“Oh. Okay…I guess,” will be the do-gooders quiet response. “I fell short of my goal by a couple hundred dollars.”
“Oh really? How many hundred?” is the hopeful inquiry; hope which is fueled by the desire of success so that blame cannot be laid at their feet.
“About fifteen hundred.”
The negligent financier looks crestfallen (or in our age, takes about a day to respond by inbox on FB).
“I’m sorry to hear that. I really wanted to support you, but some things came up. You understand.”
Of course, you want to be understanding, and being the bigger man or woman you reject the opportunity to throw in this individuals face that they are full of sh*t. Why would you make a pledge of support when you knew in your heart that you had no intention (there’s that word again!) of honoring them? Ahhh, but the disappointing party DID have intentions of honoring them, just not the fortitude to carry out those intentions!
I think it all boils down to integrity. One should never make promises that they can keep but are just too lazy to do so. If you have access to the internet at home, a smartphone and a car, you can honor your commitment to a friend to make a donation. It might not be the $300 you promised, but daggonit if you can’t get by without a caramel macchiato – just this once! – and redirect those funds to a good cause.
It’s only $5.00. Besides, when you make a promise to seed into someone’s vision and fail to do it, you not only poison the vision with your inaction, but also poison a fairy in an enchanted realm. Do you really want to be responsible for killing fairies?
Within a matter of weeks, George Zimmerman’s website received $200,000 for his support fund.
Two. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars.
How much money have the lawyers representing Trayvon Martin received? I am certain that if it neared anywhere close to this ridiculous sum, we would have heard about it by now. But noooo. All these people with their ‘good intentions’ and Justice for Trayvon t-shirts rally and picket in parks and then go home to dinner. Meanwhile, the family still needs to pay legal fees! If all those thousands upon thousands of people just gave ONE dollar…just imagine.
I’m sure they intend to get to it. Most of us usually do.