I wish there were two different words for Pride. Words are important – I talked about that last time – and this one more than most. Why? Because it represents the best and worst of us. The two meanings held within the word are on opposite poles of the human experience – one containing our darkest cesspool of selfishness, the pool where all other darkness drinks and is given life – the other is celebration; the other is encouragement; the other is love.
I wish there were two words for Pride. The one that sums up the addictive nature of being proven right; the one that sums up the need to prove others wrong; the one that sums up our hubris in devising ways of death that undoes God’s creative majesty; the one that sums up our obsession with turning everyone against “the other” in order to preserve ourselves and hide our mistakes.
I wish there were two words for Pride. The one where my chest bursts for a friend; the one that shows I’m still standing after having rocks thrown at my head; the one that encapsulates the feeling where I help someone else stand; the one that rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourn.
That this same word can be the standard for the beaten, oppressed and murdered to stand under as the one that is the disease at the heart of the ones who do the beating, oppressing and murdering is an irony that we cannot escape. That it is both my Pride in a friend that would lift, promote and praise them and my Pride that would rejoice at their faults, errors and mistakes is the heart of why relationships are complex and why the stories of our lives are so coloured by dark and light.
I wish there were two words for Pride. It’s my independence and non-acceptance of help. It’s embarrassment, it’s rejection of vulnerability, it’s closing off my doors. It’s anger at being to be made to look foolish, it’s the joy of making another look foolish. And yet, it’s saying “this is who I am”; saying “I will stand with you, despite our differences”; saying “you are not alone”.
It’s Pride. And it’s not Pride. It’s the original Sin (“I know better”), it’s the original spark of community. Choose your Pride. Be yourself, know yourself – know your limits, be Vulnerable. Embrace “I’m chuffed for you” and turn your back on “I told you so”.
I wish there were two words for Pride.