Pride is the fifth of the seven sins, in our seven sins and friends.
Which of the following is a sin?
1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
2. the state or feeling of being proud.
3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
4. pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself:civic pride.
5. something that causes a person or persons to be proud: His art collection was the pride of the family.
6. the best of a group, class, society, etc.: This bull is the pride of the herd.
7. the most flourishing state or period: in the pride of adulthood.
Two quotations come to my mind:
Pride goes before a fall.
Death be not proud.
Pride goes before a fall: Proverbs 16:18, King James Version, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Here is the whole chapter: http://www.christianity.com/bible/bible.php?q=Proverbs+16&ver=kjv
Proverbs 16:5 is also relevant. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
And then Death be not proud is from John Donne: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44107
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
I am ambivalent about pride. I have mixed feelings. I find it easier to be proud of my children than myself. I am aware of my faults. Also, when I am really proud of something, I am more liable to mess up! To say something arrogant, to not pay attention, to lose my keys, to hurt someone’s feelings not on purpose! An analyst wrote that in their household, whoever has the best week, the most accolades, has gotten a prize or had a really good week: that person is in charge of the cat litter box for the next week. I think that is so sensible, to keep everyone grounded and connected to the daily tasks and remind us that even if we do something brilliant, the cat litter box still needs attention and the bathroom still needs to be cleaned. It is hard to keep a swelled head while scrubbing the toilet. I am proud that my children both did chores every weekend and my son still pitches in when he is home from college!
And now… the cat is reminding me….
I took the photograph in 2012 and came across it yesterday. Sometimes we get lost in a fog of pride or fantasy or emotion……. service to others and basic tasks like cleaning ground us again…..