Listening to our GPS (Goodness Positioning System)


GPS. (Marcin Wichary / / Creative Commons)

I’ve been taking part in a book study about Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference by Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho. In the book Tutu and his daughter outline their theory that we are all “tuned to the key of goodness.”


What do you think?

There are some doubters in our group. With all the evil and suffering in our world, how can we accept that everyone wants to pluck the same goodness string?

My brilliant friend, Etienne, led Monday night’s session. He came up with a metaphor that had us all thinking hard about how it might apply to our lives. He asked us to think about GPS, but in this case it means Goodness Positioning System. (© 2011 Etienne LeSage) It’s that happy humming we feel when we know we’re heading in the right direction, or the anxious gnawing in the stomach that tells us we are not.

GPS tells you where you are. GPS helps to guide you to where you want to go. When you veer off course, GPS is firm but gentle as it tries to get you back on track: “When possible, please make a legal U-turn.”

Etienne’s metaphor ties in with what Tutu proposes: we are all free to make choices, but good ones just feel right.

In the book, Tutu says, “The lie that gets us out of trouble in the instant often plagues us for hours or days to come. ‘Will I be found out?’ we worry. ‘What other lie must I tell to make the first one stand?’ we fret. The anxiety attached to the wrong may eventually make the fix seem worse than the ailment.”

In other words, Tutu says, when we’re not tuned into the key of goodness, we feel anxious and discordant.

Oh, but when we have made a good choice, suddenly we are anxiety free. Wrong gratifies in the moment, Tutu says, but “. . . good yields its gifts over a lifetime.”

I invite you to read Tutu’s book and ponder the ideas he proposes. He gives us plenty to think about. And, in the meantime, stay tuned to what your Goodness Positioning System is telling you. Are you humming along in the right direction, or do you need to make a legal U-turn?

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