Find the gem first, then polish it

I should have listened to the virtue card! You see, I have this set of Virtues Reflections Cards which I bought two years ago in Green Acre, the wonderful Baha’i school, and have been using it by randomly choosing a virtue to practice each day. Now, choosing a card and practicing a virtue are different things. Having the mindfulness to remember what the intended virtue of the day was and applying it to situations as they arise, is another thing. Today’s card was on… humility. And today, in a pretentious attempt to be funny, I made a lame joke, demonstrating anything but humility… I did apologize but sometimes even the apology seems so lame… And for this walking imperfection, it is still so difficult to find the balance between humility and humiliation… At least there was a lesson in this experience, but it is still saddening to offend a friend:

Beware lest ye harm any soul, or make any heart to sorrow; lest ye wound any man with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 73)

On the other hand I did host the second session of my Ruhi 3 study circle, and it was truly wonderful and nurturing.  The participants hail from four continents and their experience with children ranges from none through parenting of young children to parenting of grown-up children. It is so inspiring to observe how we all are able to reflect on a quote from such different, yet complimentary, angles. And each one of us is indeed trying to learn to polish gems of inestimable value, so the homework for next Thursday is:

  1. Think of the favorite teacher from your childhood and reflect on what made that person so special
  2. Practice noticing the gems of virtues within yourself, and others
  3. Memorize this remarkable quote:

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 259)

I will be on the lookout for my humility! I know it must be buried somewhere… Because before I can polish the gem, I need to find it…

Humility exalteth man to the heaven of glory and power, whilst pride abaseth him to the depths of wretchedness and degradation.
(Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 29)

P.S. Turns out the joke was not so bad after all… Talk about a talent for self-torture. Oh well, live and learn.

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