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Reflection Day 22: Rev'd Stephanie Jenkins

What causes you to feel selfish or act in selfishness? How do you turn away from these desires?

By Rev'd Stephanie Jenkins

There are plenty of ways to look at these questions. I’ll offer my initial thoughts on the personal and cultural level.

It seems to me (and given past conversations with Richard) that I am most selfish in our relationship when I haven’t been taking time to take care of myself.

Cue - put your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others.

I get grumpy and short in my attempt to claim my space and time that I’ve been neglecting. Often times, in order to take the personal time/Sabbath time that everyone needs, it requires letting tasks go unfinished. By now those of you at Saint Andrew’s know me well enough to know that this one is a challenging task for me. More practice is needed and worthy of the practice as there is direct correlation to how selfish behavior is expressed in my life.

While the above is certainly ongoing worthy work, it is something I can actively engage in and see an impact. Looking at selfishness on a cultural level is a much more daunting (and at times depressing) effort as I living in our fast-paced, largely driven by the bottom line, instant gratification American society sets up a system I experience to be laden with inherent selfishness.

My overall concern for the environment we are leaving for those coming behind us is something that is of great concern to me. Trying to live ones life in a sustainable manner is next to impossible in the mainstream developed world. The system that has supported us, especially since the mid-20th century is built on nonrenewable resources not to mention requires a general lack of work/life balance way of life. It’s a selfish system, that is beyond our individual efforts to repair it. That all being said, technology and the people’s growing desire to make look at how these pieces fit, or don’t fit, together is happening in more visible conversations and platforms each and every day.

Our Litany of Penitence names both the personal and cultural struggles with selfishness, and this is the first step to endeavoring to turn away from these patterns/desires. I’m thankful for the sacred space they offer in drawing our attention to “knowing bettering, and doing better."

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