Sunday, February 24, 2013

Know Thyself

This is Me.  The Real Me.
Photo by Anna Reavis

"Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City." Mrs. March in Little Women

I've had cause this week to contemplate judgement, forgiveness, and condemnation among people.  I was in the midst of thinking through the issue of why people are so willing, eager even, to tear other people down when I happened to catch Justice Sonia Sotomayor say to Gwen Ifill:  "If you try to find the best in people, they'll usually rise to your expectation.  If you try to find the worst, you'll find it."   Often, the people who are the most judgmental and critical of others are those who are unwilling to see and accept their own faults.  Condemnation is a fool's game, though, for we are all transgressors, only the details differ.

During the week, while I was considering this pervasive judgment of others and attempting to comprehend its appeal to so many people,  my daughter and I began another co-reading project, this time of Little Women.  Toward the end of Chapter One, the girls and Mrs. March discuss dealing with one's own personal burdens.  Mrs. March reminds the girls of their old habit of playing Pilgrim's Progress wherein one's burdens are in bags on one's back and after much trudging through "extremities," those bags full of burdens slide off and fall as they climb up the stairs toward "heaven."  

I think probably one of life's most important lessons, but also one of the hardest to learn, is to forgive yourself.  Refuse to carry your faults around as burdens.  Acknowledge them and let them go. Deal honestly with yourself.  Life is a beautiful mess.  Wade through it as best you can.  You may end up dirty and rumpled, but dirty and rumpled is when authentic people are at their happiest.  At the end, you want to be content to claim your life as your own beautiful mess and to feel as though you lived your best possible life.  Let those bags fall off.  Better yet, burn them.

2 comments:

Vintage Reading said...

Well that post has made me want to pick up Little Women and re-read it right now!

thecuecard said...

Nice post Amy. A good reminder for all.