with your beak stuck in the air high browed and looking 'round descending from on high an archangel coming down with keen crystal eyes you see the world as yours to take soaring with the clouds earth bound creatures are your prey talons outstretched, sharp and at the ready squeezing, tearing, grasping that which satisfies hunger driving you among lowly ones as they scamper soiling yourself briefly then returning to the skies perched majestically above it all a belief you're God's crafted sculpture but up close a lowly scavenger not an eagle just a vulture --- bdl
I dropped and cracked the screen on my new Galaxy 9+ yesterday. Listening to music and bumped into the chair the phone was sitting on. Only fell about three feet but it landed on a small, hard object and the force was great enough to puncture the screen protector and send a spiderweb of cracks over the screen. Sigh!
I had prided myself on never cracking my phone screen. An almost fifteen year smartphone owner and not one crack, puncture or scratch. I’ve known several people who have cracked theirs and always wondered how they could be so careless. Now I know it only takes a second and it’s not carelessness but life.
I think many times we see a blessed, fortunate, lucky life, perhaps our own, and believe it’s all due to hard work, clean living, good choices. We might even wonder how others who aren’t so blessed, fortunate, lucky, can be so careless.
Perhaps we should keep in mind there’s a fine line, a pressure point, that if crossed or force applied, would result in our life looking very different.
In Memory of –
This is a strange holiday for me. It’s not strange in the sense that I don’t understand it or think it necessary but strange because I did not serve in the armed services nor lost a loved one while in military service. I don’t know what it’s like to charge up a hill with my unit, share foxholes with people who I depend on for my life, find the courage to carry out orders that put my life and others in danger and know not everyone is coming back from the mission. I don’t know what it is to get a knock on my door, a phone call, by servicemen or women to inform me a loved is not returning home. I can’t imagine the pain, heartache, loss, or pride that comes with Memorial Day.
I once served on a staff with a war veteran and we liked to talk politics, history, and war. He had seen action in the military while I sat in the safety of a university classroom. We’d have conversations about the justifications of war. I’d voice my opinion that Christians should follow Jesus’ example and be pacifists, opposed to all violence and then he’d tell me when and why I was wrong. I didn’t agree with everything he said about the military, nation-building, and protection but I was also humbled and silent as he spoke. I understood that he had served, put his life on the line for us to disagree and still be friends, still call ourselves by the same name; Americans.
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Blessings & Thank you,
Hubris – excessive pride or self-confidence. synonyms: arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, hauteur, pride, self-importance, egotism, pomposity, superciliousness, superiority.
I watched a webinar today hosted by an esteemed professor on the role of genetics in the development of humanity both culturally and individually. It was an interesting presentation and clearly, the man was intelligent and dogmatic in his proposal. It didn’t take long, however, to realize the man was also proud of himself and said more than once; “This is the way it is and there is no other way.” He even went as far as to insinuate that if a person thought differently they were clearly not his equal.
This attitude has always rubbed me the wrong way. The thinking and feeling of someone else that they are superior to others. While it is true individuals may have more learning in certain areas than others it is usually because the other hasn’t put the time into the subject as another not because they are; “smarter.”
I’ve worked with and for leaders who have shown hubris, pride, arrogance. I’ve also worked with and for leaders who are humble. I have family and friends who fit both these descriptions. And, to be honest, I could rightly be accused of hubris on more than one occasion.
It’s an easy path to walk, the way of self-importance and self-indulgence. A wise person once told me; “Ego breeds ego.” In other words, no one wins when egos clash, but the fallout always brings pain and difficulty to many lives.
But I know that today many seek their way gropingly and don’t know in whom to trust. To them I say: believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. #AndreGide
Nipping At Our Heels –
Monday I watched the documentary; “Weiner.”(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTpnBDu6Y6Q) It is the story of Anthony Weiner’s rise and fall on the political landscape not once, but twice, both times because of a sexting scandal. Anthony Weiner is a flawed character that could come straight from a Greek Tragedy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_tragedy). The sexting wouldn’t work but the narcissism, short-sightedness, being your own worst enemy, destroying everyone and everything you love, certainly would make a fitting template.
The question I came away from the documentary is; “Why?” Why would a person who is obviously charismatic, appears to care for the people of his community, is by all accounts a decent person, except of course the giant gorilla in the room…his addiction to receiving attention no matter the damage, and there’s the answer.
In the end, it cost him the mayoral race of New York, his reputation (again), his marriage and his child. He’s now a television mercenary, for hire to anyone who’ll interview him, put him on a TV show panel, feed his need to be in the spotlight.
Wisdom teaches us the demons of pride, envy, wrath, gluttony (the insatiable want of things), lust, sloth (laziness), and greed are always nipping at our heels waiting for us to think we’re invincible, can control them to sink their teeth into our soul and destroy us and everything we love, hold dear.
Ego breeds ego.
I have a friend who is dealing with the impact of another person’s giant ego. This person throws his weight around, reminds subordinates of their place in the company’s food chain, bullies, threatens and seems completely unaware of his self obsession. He feeds his ego by feasting on others. Meetings are uncomfortable because other employees aren’t sure who the target of wrath will be for the day. “It seems selfish,’ says my friend; ‘but when he chooses someone else I’m relieved that it isn’t me even though I feel the other person’s pain.'” My friend has tried fighting back, confronted his rudeness, challenged his preconceptions, pointed out mistakes, but it hasn’t seemed to matter. “I’ve found that when I begin to focus on taking him down a notch or two, proving he’s not as great as he thinks, my ego begins to grow and manifests itself in ugly ways.”
As we worked though this issue I reminded my friend that; “Ego breeds ego. When your goal is to win or someone else to lose, you both suffer.” One of the most difficult people to deal with are those with an inflated opinion of themselves, especially when they are in positions of power. Wisdom teaches us that humility, even in the face of the egotistical, is the path we should walk. Power, pride, personal gratification always slips through the fingers of the grandiose. Starve ego, don’t feed it or breed it.
I was rejected today. Passed over for an opportunity I’m not sure I wanted, in a place I didn’t really want to go, for a position I’m not certain I was qualified to hold. Still…I WAS REJECTED! When I received the news, in the form of a lovely email, it took me almost an hour to get over it (which begs the question; “if you’re over it, why are you writing about it?”).
Rejection is probably too strong a word. They weren’t rejecting me, they really didn’t know me, they were accepting someone else. They liked me enough to call, gauge my interest level, inform me that I, and a few others, had been chosen out of many, gave me details and in the end…sigh… rejection.
Why are we so averse to rejection? Why do we take it so personally? Why is it such a bruise to our fragile egos? People are rejected everyday. Bank loan officers say “no”, Wal-Mart cashiers turn off their register lights, a facebook member unfriends us, the person you have a crush on prefers to “just be friends”, family members don’t call, etc. Rejection is and should be normal.
Imagine if everything you ever wanted, desired, hoped and wished for was granted. How would you ever know what you truly need? Being mindful brings an awareness that with every rejection comes another opportunity. Not getting something new is a chance to be thankful for what we have now. Every path not taken is a new way discovered.
Rejection….it’s a beautiful thing! Ok, I really am over it….I think.
peace and light,
He seemingly came out of nowhere! Amidst the first rays of light, the summer haze and the grogginess that often accompanies me on early outings, a stranger took me by surprise!
About a month ago our Siberian Husky was greeted rather harshly by a large dog. During one of our regular jaunts up and down the rolling hills of Manheim this beautiful and rambunctious Golden Retriever, who usually just barks, came out of his yard and proceeded to jump onto Trooper’s back, growling and being rather pushy! Trooper did a good job of staying calm and I was able to maneuver him away from the misbehaving canine. The owner, who came running down the driveway, was doing her best to help. Dogs not liking other dogs are par for the course when you get out as much as we do so the whole event was soon forgotten.
This morning, before 7AM, while the moon was still visible in the sky and the varying colors announced the sun’s ascent I had reached the bottom of the hill adjacent to the yard where the Golden Retriever was “Lord of his domain!” As we began to climb the hill I spotted a man, in a dark outfit, hands in pocket, eyes focused, walking straight toward me. I had not thought about the incident from four weeks ago and was unsure of what and why this was happening. Most roads in this area are not well populated. Lots of cornfields, lots of space, lots of places to bury a body! As a precaution I moved to the other side of the road. This didn’t deter him as he simply adjusted his trajectory. He was getting closer and I wasn’t at all comfortable. My anxiety and suspicion were spiking!
Finally we both stopped and I positioned the Husky between us. He told me he was the husband of the lady who pulled the dog off of Trooper a few weeks ago and wanted me to know that he and his wife were very sorry about the trouble and hoped we both were okay. I assured him everything was copacetic and that this wasn’t the first or last time another dog would act up when feeling threatened or sensed their territory was being invaded. I found out from the gentleman that the Golden’s name was Parker, introduced the man to Trooper and noted that he was wearing a patch on his uniform that read “Hershey.” The Hershey plant in Hershey, Pennsylvania is not far from where we live and I asked him how long he had been working there and if he knew someone named Jim, whom Hershey also employed, and attended our church. We chatted for a few moments, began walking and when we reached his driveway, Parker’s driveway?, I told him thanks again and we parted ways.
As Trooper and I headed home I thought about how weary I was when Jay, the man’s name, first invaded my space. I was very much like Parker; antsy, frustrated and quite hinky. I crossed the road, sped up, eagle-eyed him and if I could’ve barked …? Instead I met a nice guy who is no longer a stranger.
Oftentimes we are quick to be suspicious, expect danger, throw up our defenses when someone or something new comes along. Something we don’t like, someone acts in a way that makes us uncomfortable, anything that disrupts our comfort zone, makes us quickly assume that “stranger equals danger.”
“Serenity and suspicion rarely go well together”.
My early morning run-in helped remind me of this and the need to be mindful of my first reaction. Thanks Jay and Parker, see you soon!
wisdom and comfort,
“(We were) …created to have true glory in God. . . This true glory was lost by pride. To recover it we must practice humility. “The surest salvation, the remedy of his ills, and the restoration of his original state is the practice of humility AND NOT PRETENDING THAT HE MAY LAY CLAIM TO ANY GLORY THROUGH HIS OWN EFFORTS BUT SEEKING IT FROM GOD. . . . pride consists not in seeking glory but in seeking it in and by ourselves. Humility seeks glory where it is to be found, in and by and for God. In so seeking, we have his glory in ourselves. We truly possess it. The other way, we have nothing but illusion, and when the illusion is taken away, despair. The right way recognizes that all is a gift, all is in dependence on God’s will.” #ThomasMerton , Notes on the Rule, p. 162
Why is humility so difficult to master? Pride so easily? We judge, label, categorize and quantify people, experiences, life. We hastily choose sides, political parties, agendas. We inform anyone who will listen, and often those who we think should listen, of our likes, dislikes, what we think is right and wrong with the world.
Before we know it we have drawn a circle around ourselves, built walls with our definitions, and embrace a myopic worldview with an ever shrinking mind and shriveled spirit.
The ability to encounter life, each other, every moment with acceptance and gratitude, seeing all as gift is humility. Control, categorizing, creating our own little world is pride.
May we let go and let life/each other be today without notions of how it/they should be.
blessings of light and peace,