Friday, August 27, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I had one of those one-finger-pointing-at-someone-else-three-fingers-pointed-at-myself experiences this morning. And for reasons I don’t understand and would like to resist, I feel moved to share this tale which does not make me look very good. Humble pie, force fed.

A colleague sent an email complaining about his teaching schedule this year. Because he thought my schedule was part of the unfairness (to him), I was copied on it. As it turns out, my schedule was not the one putting him at a perceived disadvantage; it was someone else’s. Then in the series of emails, he questioned the “POWER” of this other person to claim the coveted time slot.

Not sure if he was joking (I don’t know him very well), I deflected the issue with some weak humor. Afterwards, I pondered the email exchange and gifted what I labeled as his petty ego trip with some condescending compassion. Condescending, I say, because I saw myself as quite above such a silly fray. Way too spiritual, too serene, too wise. Concerned more with REAL suffering in the world rather than whether I would be coming home an hour later after work.

Basking in my moral superiority as I condemned his sense of workplace superiority (you see where this is going), I suddenly “saw” a mirror in front of me. I remembered years when an hour in my schedule meant the difference between being able to pick up my kids after school or needing after school childcare. I don’t know anything about my colleague’s personal life. That hour might be very important. Indeed, I remember times when I was practically apoplectic over being kept waiting 10 minutes. When I thought I was entitled to something better than someone else. Who am I to judge him?

Disappointed that my enjoyment of being more-enlightened-than-thou was so abruptly cut short, I started wondering if there was anything I could judge someone for that I wasn’t guilty of myself. Surely there is something I could point at and say with confidence, “I never have done and never would do that!”

It is now several hours later, and I’m still thinking. Well, I have been mean and selfish, and all that. But I’ve never stolen anything. Hmm, yes I have. I’ve never cheated anyone. Yep, done that, too. Lied, yes, more times than I can count. Got it – I’ve never killed anyone. Up close and personal, that’s true. But have any of my actions, thoughts, words, or lifestyle habits contributed to anyone’s death somewhere in the world? Maybe. Probably. In that six-degrees-of-separation kind of way, is there anything I am not at least partly guilty of? Nothing I can think of.

Humble pie, meekly eaten.

We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are. --Anais Nin

1 comment:

  1. LOL! I was thinking about your post and realized that I tend to feel sorry for people who are embarking on something that I regret having experienced in the"I'VE got my Toyota. Those poor fools don't know how stupid they are for buying that Grand Am."


    I feel sorry for you having to take care of your mom who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I've already been through that stage.

    But in all reality....when that mirror is held up...I was exactly in their shoes once....


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