An Ordinary Post by an Ordinary Gal (The First in a Series)
Warning: it is the intention of this series to deal head-on with the crippling effects of selfishness, envy and depression. If you yourself are more consistently prone to selflessness, joy and optimism, you may want to just move on.
So. Directly following the publication of my post “Ten Things I Love that Begin with the Letter ‘A’”, I thought of several other items that also fit the bill (at least in my mind). How could I have possibly forgotten to include:
“Ah, my little sweet pea,” saith the Lord, “but you should not desire these things excessively. Nor shall you have them on your terms but on mine.”
Woops. I forgot.
“Furthermore,” saith the Lord, “I am going to send you not the accolades you desire but rather, a little humility. This is because I love you. Can you handle it?”
“Certainly, Lord!” I said optimistically.
Well, I was wrong.
Here is a question for all you bloggers: do you ever set yourself up for disappointment by piling all of your hopes, dreams and aspirations upon a single post? How silly is that, right? Yet, there are times when I go to hit “Publish” that I say to myself, “Surely this one’s an award winner. Those comments will just pour in.”
I mean, really.
We’re human, though, and we love to be loved. That’s just the way God made us. But given our disordered nature, we often seek affection and attention in ways that are not His will.
An example would be self-promotion (read: bragging). We brag because we’re insecure and because in our heart of hearts (where is that, exactly?) we are hoping to be loved.
Well let me tell you, I am big on being loved. Do you love me? Oh, how I hope so! Because if you do then perhaps you will put up with me and the times I am embarrassingly self-promoting.
Like when I shared the detail about my illustrations for Tom Playfair. It wasn’t really relevant to much of anything, was it? But I did think it would garner me some of that devil attention that I crave.
It’s embarrassing, really.
I am becoming the Britney Spears of the blogosphere.
And, as is in the case of my Tom Playfair pronouncement, I figured this all out soon enough. The comments didn’t pour in–they trickled! (And I’m okay with that, I say in my best imitation of Stuart Smalley. But at the time, I wasn’t! See the follow-up posts in this series.)
You see, what I initially thought would be an “A ha!” moment for my colleagues (Oh my goodness! That was you? We just love Tom Playfair!) was really an “Oh, please.” I really think so. And to read the sweet comments that Jane and Jamie left was just embarrassing because I felt that I had sought them, well, not for the glory of God at all but instead, my own advancement.
There you go. I’m selfish.
And–you’re probably thinking–incredibly self-absorbed to be spending the length of this post on what was basically a gaffe.
Or you’re thinking I’m too self-conscious.
Well, guess what? The answer is D. All of the Above!
Hee. What are blogs for if not disclosure? : ) And I’m kidding, of course, because what I’m really hoping to do with all this is E. Get to the heart of the problem.
Which is the ever-warring factions of pride and humility in one’s soul.
I went to Mass right after publishing my “Ten Things” post, and as I gazed at the beautiful, life-size nativity scene at the front of the church, I thought, “And this was the birth of the King of Kings, chosen by God the Father? Humility! Oh, how I lack it!”
Do you want to know the truth behind those illustrations? Of course you do. I did them over 15 years ago, in a state of schism from the church while going to school at a schismatic college and working for a schismatic magazine (where the illustrations were originally published).
Which was all done in good faith, of course, but there you have it.
I didn’t bother to mention any of that the first time around, now did I?
No, it was really just a “Look at me!” moment.
I sometimes wonder how the people of truly substantial talent—the great artistic Masters, for example—coped with their notoriety. Did Christopher Wren go around boasting about his cathedral? What did Fra Angelico do when people bragged him up over his Annunciation?
Well. Recently I read a story about how Michelangelo overheard a group of people highly praising his Pietà. The problem is, they were giving credit to a different artist! He later snuck back and scratched his name into the bottom of the sculpture.
I like this story because it just goes to show that even the great masters dealt with vain-glory. Granted, I’m no master! Though at times my selfish delusions would have me think so.
The trouble with the sin of selfishness (as if you didn’t know that it was troublesome) is that if left unchecked and unacknowledged, it almost always leads to the sin of envy–both in your heart and your neighbor’s.
Which leads me to the Second Post in this Series.
See you tomorrow.
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