Whatever is Noble Part 1 (links to Whatever is True can be found here, too)
I drove home from class today trying to do a bit of word association in my head. Writing about Truth wasn't nearly as difficult as writing about nobility. That is, until one word hit me smack in the face: upstanding.
Noble human beings and upstanding human beings are basically the same thing, and there's no shortage of those people in my life. In our particular set of circumstances, I've been God-blessed with women who pursued my friendship when I probably would've locked myself in a hole and stayed there.
I thought the most difficult thing I would ever face would be infertility. Then, we dealt with loss. I know I'm all broken record about those experiences, but that's because I've never been in a situation that left me so void.
When it happened, I didn't know how I was going to face students in the classroom, because there were two weeks of school left before summer vacation. Thankfully, I have an understanding administrator who knew something was very, very wrong. Those two weeks at work were hazy. I stepped away from civilization. I didn't socialize. I didn't celebrate summer vacation. I pretended that nothing was happening when students were not in my classroom.
Except I couldn't seem to shake my friend, Morgan.
My first day back at school, she sought me out and just hugged me. She didn't say anything, and even though she's not a touchy-feely person, she must've held me for a good ten minutes. As summer months passed and we found ourselves back in school, she found simple ways to encourage me in my rut--a dinner invitation, a stop by my classroom, a joke.
Into the spring semester of the following year, she was blessed enough to be expecting her first child. Because this was such a difficult road to navigate, I assumed we would talk less. Our close relationship would fall victim to circumstance, and that would have to be OK because some things are just beyond my control.
Not Morgan. She became an example of graciousness in my life--celebrating her pregnancy on one hand, while offering subtle support to someone who struggled to reconcile happiness and grief. Though I have been around my fair share of obnoxious women, Morgan never made it on that list. She seemed purposefully aware that I was happy for her, but struggling with my own set of circumstances. And she never pushed the issue.
My first pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, she left a sweet gift. It's on the credenza in my living room, and everytime I see it, I'm reminded of the graciousness of others. To date, she has never forgotten pregnancy and infant loss awareness day: she always makes time to let me know she's thinking of me.
And on particularly tough days (even now--I have a whole story about struggling through grad school!), she always seems to find her way to my classroom with an idea for dinner or some smart alec comment.
To me, that's the perfect example of an upstanding human being--one who sees others and cares about them so deeply, s/he cannot ignore the situation.
She would never admit that she's done these things. It's not in her nature to accept praise. But her example will ring true with me anytime I find myself rich and sitting with someone who is poor.
It's about living together and giving to one another. That's the essence of true excellence of character and the definition of noble.
Whatever Is Right