Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I don’t have a lot of pride but the little I do have gets me in trouble.

I am proud to be a Quaker, while at the same time flinching because pride is a sin.

I am proud of my writing skills. But this makes me extremely sensitive to comments on my writing, which does not go over too well at work.

I am proud of my extended family’s unity—but acutely aware of all the warts and flaws, and know that I would not choose to socialize with many of my cousins.

I am proud (I think) of my extended family’s academic prowess—and realize, however belatedly (I was in my 20s), that intelligence does not equate to virtue.

I am proud of my daughter, so is so eerily like me, and who has turned out so very well in so many ways. But I know that I had little to do with it, just my DNA and womb and doing my best.
Back to the gratitude thing: I am not proud to be American; I feel grateful to be American. I am quite lucky to live in a country free of the threat of war, in safe neighborhoods, with opportunities to improve my life and live well, with ample food, with clean water and air (relatively speaking of course).

Maybe I should practice more gratitude, and thank God for the ability to write fairly well, to thank God for putting me in a Quaker family, thank God that my father, as poor a father as he was, gave me the DNA to be healthy, intelligent, and a member of my extended family. And I do feel gratitude to historical Quakers for all the good they did. I didn’t do all those things. And I am deeply, deeply grateful that my daughter is so easy for me to love and raise.

Next time I feel some pride, I will not flinch or flog myself, I will quickly restate my thought to put gratitude into it.

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