Sometimes when I haven't prepared properly for a trip to the library, (gasp) I browse the librarian recommendation shelf displays. They're usually a good source of validation for me--OH! OH! ME TOO! I LIKE THAT ONE! (Geek.) Also they have good suggestions.
Yesterday I found one I hadn't already read and enjoyed, She Walks in Beauty A Woman's Journey Through Poems compiled by Caroline Kennedy. I like the title poem by Lord Byron,(see below) and checked the book out just for that.
Here's where the disturbing part comes in. As I read the introduction, I found myself totally disregarding Caroline Kennedy as a person of worth based on the shallow qualities that she was born into wealth, power, and beauty. Plus, she's skinny. WHAT!?! Seriously.
Yep. Not a real person. Surely she has no deep feelings to speak of, nothing to teach me, no heartache, no passion. Good grief.
I can't believe I even went there. I guess you can only be a Child of God if I give you permission.
Not only that, but upon further reflection, I confused her at first with Maria Shriver, who is also maybe a Kennedy. I give up. Anyway. I need to remember that the Savior loves everyone, even the Kennedy family, maybe especially the Kennedys. He surely knows them better than I do. Why would I do that? Judge people like that.
I can see the Savior in the eyes of a child who is difficult to love, but not in someone rich and famous? Reverse prejudice is still prejudice.
So, you people who are cool. You know who you are. The ones wearing the Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirts. You beautiful, rich, famous, skinny, poised, lovely people. You are officially people, too. You have feelings and are valuable. I know, right? Who knew?
OK. That last paragraph was wrong somehow. I'm working on it. Let's never take ourselves too seriously, folks.
Poem reprinted with Lord Byron's permission-maybe.
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
I posted this last night (6/4/13) and reflected some more. The answer is pride. It is easier for me to show compassion for someone when I feel equal, or even somehow superior to that person.
How terrible, that I could feel superior or inferior to anyone. We are all equal in value and infinitely unique to our Creator. This is something I'm trying desperately to teach my children, and I am shocked when I find that I still haven't learned it myself.
I hate praying for humility. Humbling things happen to me. I prefer to stumble along blissfully believing that I am perfect.