2. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
I liked this instruction. Initially, I took it to mean that I didn't have to be anyone's doormat. I didn't have to surrender my autonomy, freedom, independence and everything that goes with it. If the other person understood that, there would be no reason why we couldn't be on good terms.
As a child growing up on the south side of Chicago, it seemed that I was hardly ever on good terms with all persons including my mother, my sisters, my teachers, my friends. I was angry, stubborn, and a fighter. I was also intelligent and restive.
I was an avid reader. Reading was my escape. My mother was also a reader and had a wide collection of paperback books that she stored in our basement.
Around the age of 12, I would spend hours in the basement reading books like Lady Sings the Blues: The Autobiography of Billie Holiday, The Scottsboro Boys, Black like Me. These were serious books that informed my young view of the world. It was unjust, sad, tragic. But, I was still hopeful and optimistic about my future. There were strategically placed people in my life who encouraged me to use my intelligence and my gifts, to make something of myself – my grandmother, my pastor and his wife, Rev. Dr. Kwame John R. and June Porter, my voice teacher, Mrs. Robbie Shields Terry, a few of my other caring teachers.
Surrendering was something I found myself doing when I backed myself into a corner. Notice that I said “when I backed myself into a corner.” Swallowing my pride was the hardest and most valuable lesson I've had to learn. I hated swallowing my pride – even when it was false pride. Especially when it was false pride, because there was no substance there. I didn't do my homework. I wasn't prepared for the consequences. This was especially true during my younger years, but still remains a caveat today.
Meekness is knowing when to be humble to gain the desires of your heart.
Actually, it's really easy to be on good terms with all persons. Very rarely do I find myself “surrendering” in order to get along with folks. However, when the occasion arises in which
I find myself feeling uneasy - a cognitive dissonance, I pay attention to it. I have to make choices. How far am I willing to go without surrender to be on good terms with this person? How far are they willing to go to be on good terms with me? And, so, the introspection begins.
Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts?
Dedicated to my sons, Jibri and Chris, my privilege and blessing. EcwmB