Monday, May 16, 2011

Of Vice and Virtue

Ok, so perhaps you all DON'T have thoughts on that last issue. That's cool, that's cool, but what about this one?

The other day I was thinking about all the people I respect and admire most, and I noticed that they all seem to have pretty much the same traits in common. These people are kind, selfless, temperate, wise. They are humble and hard-working. These are people whom I consider to be as perfect as mortality allows; people who seem, based on my perception anyway, to be as close to Christ as one gets in this world. I realized that all these people were more or less alike each other, at least more alike than the rest of us baddens. Which made me wonder if this is sort of what Tolstoy was getting at:

Happy families are all alike
; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way (Anna Karenina).

There are a lot of ways to be bad (unhappy), but goodness (happiness) comes in pretty much the same forms - kindness, temperance, wisdom, humility, industriousness. It seems that the closer we get to Christ, the more alike we become - which makes perfect sense because we are, after all, converging into the same thing; that is, Christ Himself.

I was about ready to pat myself on the back for finally solving the mystery of what the heck Leo was talking about, when it occurred to me that perhaps there aren't so many ways to be bad after all. Could one just as easily say that badness is all the same, too? Cruelty, gluttony, foolishness, pride, sloth - are not all our sins some variation of these big'ns?

I know someone's gotta have an opinion on this! Also, 20 points to moi for using 'badden' and 'big'n' in the same post! I'm on an alliteral roll!

Also, I just remembered that my bro Bryce once offered a different interpretation of the Tolstoy quote which I think is also quite insightful. Go here to see it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The best part about this post is that I got to use the words 'ephemeral' and 'evanescent'

Pride has been on my mind a lot lately. And I'm not even talking about Westview Pride. By some stroke of divine wisdom/punishment, I feel that I've lately become more inclined to notice my own pride in all its many manifestations, which has led me to conclude that I am actually one of the most prideful people as has ever walked the earth. I know, it's so paradoxical right, cause look at me right now! I'm being all humble by acknowledging my faults and stuff, right? Well, maybe I was for a fleeting moment there, but even now I am back to being prideful about what a humble gal I am, and that ephemeral humility is three blocks down the street again. It seems that humility, like the present, is hopelessly evanescent. And yet, it must not be a completely hopeless virtue to strive for, or else I wouldn't feel shame for not having it, would I? There must still be people out there who have learned the secret of how to pin it down for at least longer than a moment. In fact, I'm pretty certain there are, because sometimes you can just tell those kinds of people.

My inability to pin down humility for longer than a millisecond is discouraging, but I have hope yet than I can improve. My wise missionary friend Sorella Jacobson pointed out that perhaps the best plan of attack for eliminating pride is not to tirelessly chase humility, but rather to focus on replacing pride with something that is equally accessible but better, like selfless service. She says our minds are a stage, and that only one act can be played on it at a time, so perhaps it is better to replace one bad act with a good one, and then humility might come as a fringe benefit. I'm still uncertain about this, but I certainly think it's worth a shot.

I know you all have thoughts on this. Let's hear 'em!