One of the more popular television programs in the United States and in some overseas markets in the crime drama NCIS. As a fan myself, I know very well the main character’s penchant for rules by which one should live. One of his more famous rules is “Rule #6: Never apologize; it’s a sign of weakness.”
With all due respect to the writers, producers, and actors, I have to strongly disagree with Rule #6. How we respond to people illustrates not only who we are but what we believe. It takes courage to apologize and it also signifies that one accepts their own humanness.
Yesterday we discussed briefly Aristotle’s “Poetics”. Aristotle defined the word narrative as “a matter of development of character in terms of a plot.” The plot is created through a series of challenges or conflicts. The response to these conflicts reveals the character of the person and their faith.
This weekend many Christians, though not all, will celebrate Easter. Easter is the culmination of the story of the life of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe this Jesus to be the son of God who died for the propitiation or appeasement of all of mankind’s shortcomings or sins. In a prayer attributed to this Jesus, believers are told to forgive others just as they want and expect to be forgiven. Known as the Lord’s Prayer, this is the guiding factor in how we should respond to others.
When I invite people over to see my garden, I do not want to show them a plot of land that is full of weeds. I want them to see plants in various stages of growth and encourage them to envision the bountiful harvest I hope to receive.
It is impossible not to interact with someone in one’s life. People living “off the grid” in a solitary existence are breathing the air that has been breathed out by other humans and animals. We cannot isolate ourselves. We are in this thing called life together.
Yesterday I also discussed Dr. Sedgwick and his book “The Moral Christian Life.” This is what he says about character and how it is revealed by our responses to life. “”As character is both revealed and developed in the human response to events, the unfinished or open-ended relationship between acts in forming and sustaining a practice indicates that character is not fixed or final.” In other words, we need to keep cultivating and weeding the gardens of our souls because we can grow new and better selves.
Dr. Sedgwick continues: “The unity of the self as a unity of purposes depends … on some ongoing development of … practices that form” a life as a whole. While he explains this concept in terms of Christian metaphors, it easily applies to everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs.
There is nothing that insists we must respond with retaliation or revenge. A garden needs sunlight and water and perhaps some fertilizer but the best guarantee for a productive garden is nurturing. We need to take care of ourselves in body, mind, and spirit.
These past weeks we have discussed self-love, self-worth, self-knowledge, self-respect and self-esteem, self-discipline, and selflessness. We have one more blog post in this series. It is appropriately titled Harvest and will conclude this growing a garden of better self for this Lenten series. It will post later tonight as the season of Lent draws to a close and the season of Easter dawns.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Ernest Hemingway said that and I firmly believe it to be true. Tomorrow is a new day, a new day to be superior to the person you are at this very minute.
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” This was said by one of the greatest minds of the modern world, Albert Einstein. Tomorrow is the beginning of a new season and series for this blog but it is also the harvest of this current one. We will discuss the harvest of successfully navigating the narrative of our life and focus on the inventions of women who did just that and created something we all need.