Hubris and Punishment

Hubris is a word I use often, as it means pride before a fall. I fall often, but am still getting up. Mennonites shy away from worldliness, arrogance, conceit, smugness, and self-importance OR they shy away from displays of worldliness, arrogance, conceit, smugness and self-importance, all synonyms for pride, lest they should fall.

Today’s example was choosing to go to the Co-op Grocery, ostensibly to get water which is easiest if done in person. Now I didn’t need the water, most of the time Gimli town water is fine, but I like it for my coffee and my ice-cubes. I drink liters of ice-water, and lime cordial with soda. I decided, since I was up early and my leg was leaning up against the bed invitingly I might as well go to the store. I didn’t need to go to the store as I knew of a volunteer that would pick my pre-ordered groceries up and bring them to my building. I am just over 65 and have several “underlying conditions,” and really should stay home. I went anyway. The shopping was perfectly organized and I found some rewards for going out, good mangoes, $5 for 4 for example. I was pleased with myself.

Returning to my handicap parking space close to my apartment building, I got a shopping cart from the back door. Shopping carts have no brakes, and there is a gentle grade in the sidewalk right next to my van. So I picked up my “fridge” sized container of water and chunked it down behind one of the wheels; and immediately the water container tipped over. The water container’s hole on the top was a BIG hole on top. The cap was not on tight enough, came off and the water I had just bought began coursing down the sidewalk. I have developed a habit at looking at my mistakes like these with a puzzled expression of disbelief for a split second or two.

I explain this accident to my self-partner as a lack of mindfulness, but am secretly thinking. “See, you son of a bitch, you defied the order to stay at home. You did not need the water just to make your coffee and your ice-water taste better. You did not need to go to the grocery store and spend over $150.00. This is what you get, YOU FOOL! You disobedience has been punished. You deserve to loose some your precious water because you defied peace, order and good government.” My self-partner, glory be has been in psychotherapy for decades and steps in. “That way of thinking is not helpful. There is no instant retribution for your choices, let’s look at the scene again. Hmm it seems your back hurt and you were in a hurry. Your mind was on the next thing already, not the water in your hands. See? Just a lack of mindfulness! Isn’t that better?”

Note to self: Don’t go out before you’ve had your coffee, even if all you plan to do is to get better water to make it.


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