The audience had applauded with enthusiasm after the presenter’s slide show. The gardening program left the attendees buzzing and eager to put into practice what they had learned. With skill the presenter pulled questions from the boisterous crowd and interjected humor in her answers.
She was a renowned horticulturalist and landscape designer, and everyone knew it. She wrote for several magazines, web sites, presented at local universities, and at nearly every major garden event in five states. People clamored over everything that came forth from her mouth… garden related or otherwise. No denying, she knew her stuff and shared it.
A good thing that is, too. We who’ve attended her workshops learned about tools and techniques—and silly ways to fool the passerby’s—for our gardens. Afterglow conversations were full of her insights on growing, grooming, and progression of the landscape into a thing of beauty.
With gardens and farming—and in industries—we follow what’s called “best practice.” Farmers rotate crops or harvest before rains. Gardeners practice “right plant right place” and avoid planting sun-loving plants in shaded woodlands. There are established ways of doing things that have proven beneficial to proper and productive growth. Ms. Horticulturalist knows these rules well, and shares them eagerly from personal experience.
Moving forward in proper and productive ways is to look at the application of “best practices” to a situation.
In the Rule of St. Benedict one practice is humility, and progression at this can be painfully slow. Like seeds sluggish to germinate—some taking six weeks as Bell’s of Ireland do—there’s a chance that they’ll not come up at all if growing practices were not properly addressed.
This past week a reminder of the practice of humility, or rather lack thereof, made its rounds again on the Internet. It is a list by St. Josemaria. The interdependence of each shortcoming is apparent—and uncomfortably convicting.
- Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say
- Always wanting to get your own way
- Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners
- Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so
- Despising the point of view of others
- Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan
- Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own
- Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation
- Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you
- Making excuses when rebuked
- Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you
- Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you
- Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you
- Refusing to carry out menial tasks
- Seeking or wanting to be singled out
- Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige
- Being ashamed of not having certain possessions
This is another of those lists, like the Fasting From used at Lent, which needs to be printed and taped to the mirror.
St. Josemaria, pray for us!