Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pride Goeth before!

Not long ago my bank called,no not one of those auto-mated calls, my bank vice president called.She left a message on my machine, "Hey, EB, this is Penny*,I'm concerned about you, give me a call."  Now, not only is my bank Vice President a she, but we have known each other for years, and call each other by our first names, or in my case initials.This is what comes from banking in a small community, with a small bank (up until 5 years ago 2 branches, now 4). Truth is I should have called her at least 2 weeks ago, but pride being one of the issues I struggle with, I kept thinking 'tomorrow'.Then after so many tomorrows had passed I was too embarrassed. Well we all know how that works! Pride is a hard place to be when life is kicking you in the backside over and over.

So, this morning when she went through her list of overdrawn accounts she saw mine there, and gave me a call. When I called her back a few minutes after she left her message, she didn't mention the bank balance until after she asked how I was, how my son was, etc. Then I said, "I know I am overdrawn" and before I could finish my thought she said, oh good, I was worried something had happened and just called to check on you. We discussed my situation, and the conversation ended with her assuring me that my overdraft protection had kicked in, and  telling me to take care and keep in touch. Never once did she mention how overdrawn I was, or give me an ultimatum to come up with the finds. Just relief that I was working on it, and take care.

So, I hung up the phone feeling stupid for not having called sooner, an thankful that I bank there instead of one of the BIG banks. I felt stupid because I know that this is how my bank handles things. This is the bank that gave a single Mom with a handicapped child and a part-time job a car loan, then when the Mom got sick a few months later the bank President stopped by my house to pick up my deposits and payments. So, it was just pride that kept me from calling them.

Pride, now there is an enigma if there ever was. We should all be proud of our accomplishments, have pride in who we are. I was trying to figure out where the line is between good healthy pride and the pride that becomes unhealthy, and keeps us mired in shame and embarrassment when neither is called for. I have no problems telling you that I am a proud woman. I have had an amazing blessed life. I have accomplished many things that I have every right to be proud of. I was just remembering a few days ago a story from my life where I was very proud-the healthy kind, and someone else embarrassed herself because of pride-the unhealthy kind.

This story takes place before EB was the Fat Lady, she was still just the Fat Girl.I am not putting myself down, I really will write a post someday about why I call myself this and it's a good thing. But you will have to wait for that. This story takes pace my junior year of high school, back in the 1960's in a rural area of the midwest. If you have ever seen a movie from the 50's or 60's portraying high school in small town America, you have a good idea of our high school. Now every school has slightly different traditions, and the tradition at this school was for the Junior class to give the prom to the Senior class as a gift.It was more than a dance, it  was a grand soiree, a party given in honor of the Senors.The Junior class raised money and paid for the prom. The Seniors got to go to prom for free, and there was a buffet dinner and the dance. It really was a lovely tradition.

In small town America the Prom is often a very big deal, and in this town everyone showed up for the beginning of the evening. The Senior couples lined up in the front of the school in all of their finery and had the Promenade.All of their parents and grandparents and uncles and cousins were there, pictures were taken, and everyone got to see how beautiful everyone looked in their finery.

 There was a Senior Prom King and Queen, but there was one other highly sought after role and that was Junior Prom Hostess.  Every student in school voted for Senior Prom Queen, but only the Junior class voted for Hostess. Being chosen Junior class Hostess was a very big deal.The Senior Queen and King weren't announced until later in the evening, about halfway through the dance, but the Junior Hostess was announced a day before the dance. The young woman chosen by the Junior class became the Official Hostess for the party.As the Senor Class Promenade made it's way to the ballroom they were announced and presented to the Hostess. It was like a scene out of Victorian times, the Seniors were guests at a ball given in their honor and the hostess received them like she was a great Lady or Duchess. Junior class hostess was a very coveted position.

So, there we were sitting in homeroom, and the announcements were being made over the PA. Because of our place in the alphabet I sat in front of the most 'popular' girl in school. Key Club Sweetheart, Homecoming Queen, etc., etc., etc. Barbie doll cute and Blonde. The announcements conclude with the proclamation of Junior Class Hostess...drum roll please...The Fat Girl-OK they announced me by name, but that is who I was!!! Well, behind me, Miss Barbie Doll fell out of her desk. Literally, when they started the announcement she had assumed it was one more feather in her cap and started to stand up, and was halfway there when my name came over the PA. She gasped and fell backwards. Fortunately she wasn't hurt except for her pride. Me, I was shocked,to say the least, but very touched that my peers thought highly of me.

Pride, when and where does it cross that line? How do we keep our pride healthy enough that we don't cross over into the place where it can keep us from being the best we can be? I think we have to remind ourselves every day that we are worthy individuals. In this day and age that is sometimes so very hard to do. Seems like everyone is trying to make themselves feel better by marginalizing, demonizing someone else. How very sad is that.

But how did I get so tired that I allowed old behaviors, old fears to surface and let pride cross over the line. I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who said "You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it." With everythign that has been going wrong in my life, I occasionally give in to some old fears. The important thing is for me to recognise them as soon as possible so that I may return to living in the moment.When we are in the midst of a life situation that incolves pain or suffering, it seems  as if the pain and suffering is all there is, and we get weary.So I need to remember to rest, and to not feel guilt, or shame, or embarassment because my life has handed me nothing but lemons. I need to fight the battle, no matter how many times it rears its ugly head.

I admit that when things are going badly, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed.Believe me, I know! I know that when in the midst of troubles we are often at a loss as to how this could possibly turn out good. But I also know that we have the choice to believe that it will. I know that it is all too easy to believe that my life is harder than anyone else, that I am the only one I know going thruogh this much hardship. But the truth is every person you meet is struggling with something. Life is not easy for any of us. So we must remember to choose to live in the moment, to choose in this moment to have healthy pride in our choices and accomplishments and not let old fears and behaviors cause us to trip over the line into the unhealthy kind of pride. Because we all know what 'pride goeth before...' and I choose to stay on my feet!!

No comments:

Post a Comment