Betty Duffy

(Amateur)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Humbling

Quick takes

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Oh, how much I needed Father Robert Barron's Seven deadly Sins series. Guest posting for The Anchoress, I started the week flying so high because Mark Steyn linked to a post, and my husband thought I was cool, and housework was such an inconvenience to me because I was a Very Important Blogger who had all kinds of profound things to say that would shake the world out of its complacency.

By the end of the week, angry representatives from the manosphere were calling me dirty names for lady parts and I'd email Elizabeth Scalia and say, "Why don't we just take that one down?" She kept writing back, "Do not be afraid! Taking it down is out of the question."

I'd think, "Do not be afraid. What does that even mean?" I cannot just fabricate courage and fortitude.

But I remembered Father Barron's talk about how fear finds its origins in pride. The antidote to my fear was not to try and lift myself up higher, but to get closer to the ground. I said the litany of humility "That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease…" and if nothing else, I had confidence that God was answering my prayer, because it is just so very true that I am not The Shit.

The best things in my life are my family and my faith, and the sort of unexpected thing about experiencing public disapproval is the way it causes you to adhere to those most important things more closely.

My husband comes home from work, and I just want to fold myself into him. You look at the kids and think, "You people are so, so good." You go to Adoration, and you've got nothing to say; you just want to sit in the lap of the Papa. It's an edifying experience in the best way, not chastising, but an invitation to deeper love and more affection for the first things.

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I enjoyed Hallie's post about thinking the best of people at all times. It reminded me of a time that I would have gone to hell defending an accusation I wanted to make towards someone, and I called my friend Pedge to air it out and voice my sense of injustice, and she sat back in the silence that followed my rant and said, "The Blessed Mother would give them the benefit of the doubt."

And I thought, "Why? Because she's gullible?" But I kept thinking about it, and on what quality of Mary's allows her to think the best of people--and again, it's this humility. Practicing charity is always more important than being right.

And I think about situations with my kids where I've had pretty good evidence that they're fibbing, but giving them the benefit of the doubt edifies them as well. If someone thinks the best of you, sometimes (but not always) you want to live up to it.

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All things work for the good. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt seems more difficult than being right. But a fight can go on indefinitely between strong willed people. When one person surrenders, however, it's over. How easy is that?

And strangely, even being on the wrong side of someone's lack of charity still works for the good--because you may remember who you are, and how inconsequential it is when someone's found a way to insult you.

From the desire of being loved...
extolled ...
honored ...
praised ...
preferred to others...
consulted ...
approved ...

Lord Jesus, free me.




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One of my kids got in trouble at school, and after I had expressed my disapproval of his actions, I became dissatisfied with the way the school handled it. I sent a snippy email, to which his teacher responded, explaining her response in more detail, and then I felt bad, because her response made sense. Now I was in the unfortunate position of having to show my face again at the school, after I had made a pest of myself.

I envisioned pulling all the kids out of school, then and there. I would just home school them so I never had to experience the discomfort of facing that teacher again. But I read somewhere that any time the soul chooses to isolate rather than to embrace, it is the ego. I had already made a jerk of myself, now my choices were being the humble jerk who keeps coming back, or the arrogant jerk who goes into hiding.

Humility: the jerk who keeps coming back.

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I got together with my girlfriends yesterday to read this Sunday's readings:

"When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door." (Mark 1:29-39)

The whole town.

All of us.

Ill.

It's so difficult to remember, that even when I think I have a point to make, everyone's sick, probably me most of all, in ways I haven't even recognized yet.

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I sent my sister a package this morning full of boxer shorts because there's no Walmart in Guam, and all of her boys need skivvies. Giving people gifts is not my love language. I've never been a Christmas card sender, or a sign of appreciation giver--or let's just say it--I'm not very thoughtful.

I had another package to send out as well, and I really enjoyed organizing the contents of the packages, writing notes, putting it all together and mailing it out. There is a seratonin bump to be had in being thoughtful, for sure. I felt efficient, yet tender, generous with my time, yet satisfied with how I spent it.

Do not be afraid to kill the ego. There's a life hiding behind it.

12 comments:

wifemotherexpletive said...

This makes me feel like cheering.

Anonymous said...

thank you, thank you. keep 'em coming, help us follow along, for I am lost and need direction. Blessings, Suzy

Julia said...

Well now, I needed that!

I decided, as I tossed and turned and burned one night in a nightmare of humiliation, that the burning feeling could either be pride being consumed or else the bridges I was leaving behind. My choice. Ugh. And yet, it's good.

Sarah Miller said...

"From the desire of being loved...
extolled ...
honored ...
praised ...
preferred to others...
consulted ...
approved ...

Lord Jesus, free me."

This made me groan out loud for the truth embodied there. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love that God does that. I call it "The Smackdown". As in yeah, just when I think I'm so great, I got "The Smackdown" from God. Thank you God.

Mel

Nicole Stallworth said...

I'm gonna need a source for that "isolating ego" observation. I think I need that on my vanity mirror, my refrigerator, and my dashboard.

(A hint at least?)

BettyDuffy said...

Nicole, I really have been searching for it. Maybe it was in Magnificat? But I scanned the last two months, and didn't see it. I've googled. The closest I could get was a chapter in the book, Consoling the Heart of Jesus. But the exact phrase didn't appear there. Really, I've tried.

Just know that I didn't think of it, and some saint is getting pearls in Heaven for writing it down.

Maggie said...

I am going to rename my Catholic blog 'I Am Not The Shit'. And then I won't write anything there because the title pretty much says it all. BLARGH.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Reinhard said...

Great reminders that I so needed to read. Thanks for that.

R.E.O. Johnson said...

Seeing how other people fall shouldn't make me happy, but it can be just so darn inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

Gardenia said...

you explained so well how the cup of humility can be so bitter going down, but that it coats our whole insides with joy in the end. I love coming here.