Neither Here nor There

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

The readings today are about pride and humility.

Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Again, we’re faced with a contradiction, in part because of the way we think about the concepts embodied in the two words, pride and humility. Aren’t we supposed to have pride in our work? Doesn’t a lack of pride lead to sloppy results?

But there’s a difference between being proud and having pride. Language is really interesting: to be or to have. To have pride seems to be an action, the way we do things while to be proud seems to be the way we act which can be overbearing.

And what about humility? Doesn’t that go against the grain of everything our modern teachings on self-confidence say? Humility always had this sort of brown hunched over image to me until, as I do with many words, I looked it up. Humility comes from the same root as humus – earth. So yes, the brown image is more or less there, but hunched over, not so much. Curved, perhaps, into the horizon, yes. Humility, in other words, is like having your feet on the ground. Anchored.

We get a lot of conflicting messages: a conflict of ideas, religions, philosophies, in advertising, in relationships. Life is made up of conflict, and the only way to make sense of it, it seems, is through self-observation. What pushes your buttons? What makes you angry or conflicted and what brings you peace?

How do you stay at peace, with your feet on the ground, when so many messages conflict around you?


2 thoughts on “Neither Here nor There

  1. It does seem that staying grounded–connected to the earth–leads us to peace, perhaps it’s not the only route, but it’s a certain one. When we are grounded we know who we are, and where we come from, we have a base–very comforting when we’re confronted with myriad ways of defining ourselves and others.

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