Contemplating the Self

Guess what!

YOu’ll never guess.

There are over 1,000 comments here on STILL GROWING 🙂

“His brawn, my brains and your steal against 50 men and a little finger jiggle’s supposed to make me happy?”

Well, fine! Don’t be happy about the thousand comments.

HOW rude!

Guess WHAT, though!

I’m about 8,000 words behind the word count I should be at by the end of today AaaaaaNND I need to run like 8 miles.

Therefore, this post is not going to be revised or edited at all. However, I will be writing about something important.

You see, I was lingering after church on Sunday, awkwardly talking to Pastor Pete when I really meant to be talking to this boy there who I might have a stage 2 crush on at the moment. Aaaaannnnnd… while I was lingering, Pastor Pete did this crazy thing that messed with my head a little.

He was all like, “Hey, Katie. How was your week?”

Isn’t that ridiculous of him? I know. I couldn’t believe it either. It gets worse.

Then, I was like, “People keep asking me that and I can’t remember anything that’s even happened to me recently. How are you?”

In case you were wondering, I was totally being honest. I really couldn’t remember anything that happened in my life, and I wasn’t (at that point) trying to evade talking about my life.

Theeeennnnnn, Pastor Pete/The Rev was all like, “You know, when I don’t remember what’s been going on with me I usually find it’s because I’ve been too worried about what’s going on with other people to live my own life.”

I’m paraphrasing, but I kid you not, that’s what he said. Then I was going to be like, “Why are you projecting your dysfunctions onto me?” but I couldn’t say that because before I could, he was all, “but that’s just me.”

And then I said something about how it’s okay because the bible tells us to forget about ourselves, and Pete was all, “What about that verse about thinking of others more highly than we think of ourselves… that verse shows that it’s okay for us to think about ourselves.”

Then it got really weird where Pete and the other guy were like, “SO….. Katie, how was your week? And you have to say something real.”

And in my head, I was all like, Whoa, nelly! How was my week? Well, I got  (I can’t actually tell you because it’s a breech of others’ privacy… but it was bad, and it hurt a little).

But I couldn’t tell them that, right? I mean, we were all having joking tones, and that boy who I have a stage 2 crush on was there, and I just wasn’t feeling it. So I talked about running and writing… which are my two fall-back conversations that are appropriate to have with everyone.

Then, all day yesterday, I was talking to myself inside my head, thinking, I probably should have just told them. I should have just said it. I should invest and commit to Holy Cross in a real way that’s more than my natural inclination.

Theeeennnnnnn, I was thinking about the first thing Pete said about it being okay for us to think about ourselves, and I wondered what I really think about that. And the truth is that I’ve thought for a few years now that I know what selflessness is, and that it has a lot to do with the absence of self.

But what Pete said on Sunday makes me wonder if I’ve been wrong.

For example: we’re doing a Turkey-help-kids-who’ve-got-an-incarcerated-parent-for-the-holidays thing, and the absence of self in that instant would probably be selfish. It would be me not going to the store to buy food for a family and it would be me not joining some of the other girls to deliver the food to the family. The selfless thing is for my self to be present, right?

Now what if we think about this in conversations… my strategy is usually to talk as much as possible about the other person and what she wants to talk about. Don’t Talk About Self!

But that’s a little stupid too. Because that other person I’m talking to might grow more from me talking about my life than she would from both of us talking about hers. It might again be more selfless to think about and include self in what I’m doing.

Crazy, huh? I’ve been trying my darnedest to exclude myself from the things I’m doing.

What the heck?

Now, I’m all like, “Pastor Pete, you looked so tired while I was lingering trying to talk to the stage 2 crush… how did you know what to say right then to get my noodle working? How are you so wise?”


One thought on “Contemplating the Self

  1. Congrats for the 1,000 comments! 😀

    As for the rest, amazingly… I just got a book out of the library (Hannah Arendt’s thesis on St. Augustine) and am going to use stuff from it to write a post because I’m all, wow! what I found out on my own three years ago has actually been written in a book since 1929! In French, the book was called “Le concept d’amour chez Augustin” (The Concept of Love in Augustine’s works?). I haven’t read all of it (the passage I’m interested in is at the end), but it seems to explore this apparent discordance between “loving one’s neighbour as oneself” and “self-renunciation” (how come others remain important, if you don’t, yet you’re supposed to consider them the same way you consider yourself?).

    Looking up phrases on Google, I found a sermon with this passage: “(…) Augustine also goes on to comment on ‘loving our neighbours as ourselves’. And he points out that implicit in this statement is the idea of ‘self‐love’: ‘when it is said “you shall love your neighbour as yourself,” your own self-love is not neglected’ (De doctrina Christiana, 1.26.27).”

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