“Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress.
Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.”
It’s a sneaky thing, pity of the personal kind. Beyond the empathy expected of genuinely caring others it’s taken along the continuum of calamity and strains respect for common rapport. No sound-minded person enjoys a pity-party in full swing.
Indebtedness, on the other hand, is the heart heavy amid not concern but thankfulness.
It is a generous portion of life, full of hope and poise. Indebtedness is solemnity at the darkest hour and it is also ready to run fully braced with conviction in the race for moral unity. It has the sacrifice of others ineradicably front of mind.
Indebtedness is a mood beyond the insult that is self-pity.
Excused for Self-Pity
Of course, we’re all excused for motives and acts of self-pity. It will happen. We will fall for it. And, indeed, it will even be consciously undertaken.
Temptations to seek for ourselves are wired into the temperament of the human spirit.
It’s forgivable that normal persons are given to behave in ways that they feel. The brain, such as it is, is capable of so much more, but alas it’s most instinctively given to the ease of self-pity, to guilt, and to flash responses that are usually regretful.
Nobody is immune. All are imperfect and stand before God blemished if not for the love of a Saviour who imputes perfection over them. And still we will sin. The indebtedness we might strive for will constantly elude; but we must continue to chase hard after it, not becoming frustrated and overwhelmed, just accepting of our innate flaws and continuing to strive anyway.
Sowing into Indebtedness
The more we invest ourselves into the gravity of life, the more God will bless us with reflections warranted of truth, light, hope and maturity.
Never will we be healed of our selfish desires; they so creep up when we’re unconscious of them. This is why it is all the more important to be determined to do better—to not be perfect—just to do better.
Rather than spinning our wheels in frustrated impotence, jaded at instances where self-pity gets the better of us, it’s better to sow positively into a gentler indebtedness. That is, learning the depth of capability available to human thought and experience in a realm of existence created by God.
In indebtedness we have a word that will resound through space and time, to capture a flavour of capacity knowable to humankind. There are no depths that can be plumbed, but the deeper we go the farther consciousness of self-pity is.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: This article was written as I watched the full inspired eulogy of President Obama at the Tucson Memorial Service, January 12, 2011.