National Public Radio produces a segment called "This I Believe," and it's just fantastic. People from all walks of life contribute essays around the topic of what they believe. (Just like the title says.)
Anyway, NPR broadcast one essay in particular that's always stuck with me, and it's called "Always Go to the Funeral." The author Deirdre Sullivan says that her father taught her the lesson that you should always attend the funerals of people you know, and that it's very important for the family members of the deceased. She says:
"'Always go to the funeral' means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don't feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don't really have to and I definitely don't want to. I'm talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex's uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn't been good versus evil. It's hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing. "
You can read or listen to her full essay at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4785079