Monday, November 23, 2009

Humble Pride

Humble Pride
Religion teaches that “pride goest before a fall”. The Greek tragedies were always a bout ‘hubris”. Yet today in psychology people are taught that ‘self esteem’ is good and ‘confidence’ is good. the new ‘Secret’ says literally ‘fake it till you make it”. Imagine yourself a success and you are a success.
The fact remains pride itself is not the problem, it’s ‘false pride’. False pride is a lie. Pride without humility and gratitude is arrogance.
We feel good about ourselves as ‘apart of’ not ‘apart from’. Pride that says we’re all God’s children and God doesn’t make shit is good pride. But pride that says I’m better than you or I’m less than so and so and must do whatever to be equal or better is not good. My being is equal.
I live in a culture which says that if I don’t have the house, the car, the girl, the fame then I’m not a winner. Yet there are countless examples of the deep unhappiness that the so called ‘winner’s’ experience. Do I really want to be Michael Jackson with his Achilles Heel or Elvis with his drug addiction and obesity. Do I want to be J. Edgar Hoover with his deceitfulness and lying love of boys? Talent alone can be an “idiot savant” skill. It may bring money but money in the hands of Hitler is a different prospect than money in the hands of Mother Theresa. There is good money and bad money just like there is good nuclear energy and bad nuclear energy. The truth is in what it is put to.
If I take pride in my ability to beat my foe alone then I’m missing the mark. The pride I have needs rather be in my ability to do God’s will and not be distracted by my foe. Whatever skills go to keeping me on track are those I appreciate but the competition is with myself and my own ignorance not with another person even though we may both be together in a class or a race. In the end it is always God and myself.
A lot of people I know ‘blame’ their childhood. They remember instances when their parents were less than text book perfect, or as the courts or society would say was down right ‘abusive’. What I never understand is that such individuals would not ask if the courts or the society brought in as judge had any better track record of caring for it’s own. Judgement is the Lords’. My pride is that I judge my parents. Most people I know who judged their parents became very humble when they themselves became parents. It is so easy to judge when one is ignorant and adolescent but maturity teaches respect and appreciation. I always like that the movie "28 days" puts such emphasis on having one fellow learn to care for a plant before thinking they can care for a relationship. We’re a society of ‘critics’ with too few of us having any real experience with long term relationships or caring.
False pride is the pride that comes from watching and thinking by watching that you know how to do something. The formula however is ‘see one, do one, teach one.” And our television, game show, American Idol society is all about ‘see one, teach one”. Yet without the ‘doing’ there is no real learning. The learning is in the ‘wrestling with the angel’, not just ‘thinking about it’. In our minds, we can be ‘legends’ but in the real world all manner of challenges arise that reduce ‘false pride’ to ‘right size”.
False pride and that ‘egotism’ , or rather ‘egomaniac with an inferiority complex’ , that arrogance says that we are separate, apart, above and don’t need other.
When I was a survivalist I learned to live off the land and sea and took pride in my skills and accomplishments but all the knowledge I had came from my teachers starting with my Dad. So as much as I thought I was a big shot in my little wilderness world I was wholly connected and dependent on those who went before me.
There’s a story that goes with future man being able to create. Future man goes to God and says we’re equal now. “I can create Man as you did God”. Show me says God, and at that the man picks up some dirt and is about to blow into it when God says “get your own dirt”.
False pride is about separation. Real pride is about connectedness. We are part of human kind. What happens to the smallest of us is important. We’re not alone. We’re God’s children and as my friend Scot loves to say “God doesn’t make shit.”
The fact is God makes shit but ‘shit is good’ sometimes. Ask a constipated man.
Meanwhile back at the God factory. The question is not whether I’m ‘good enough’, it’s what my purpose is. Today I ask God to show me His will for me and I ask that I might have the power to carry that out.
Humble pride then is like ‘tough love’. It’s mature. It’s not a children’s story but rather an adult tale. It’s like mature love. Just as messy but the story continues after the romance or orgasm, or the actors go home.
Meditations on Drop the Rock, Removing Character Defects, Steps Six and Seven. Bill P. Todd W. Sara S. Hazelden, 2005

"Pride without humility and gratitude is arrogance."

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