It should be just cast away like some dust that blew down an empty, unwatched hallway and came to rest on your sleeve. But instead we nurture it for use at almost every opportunity. Why not, when the thought comes, brush it off, and say something supportive? Pettiness is an insult to everything. It makes the world into a black hole and there’s no place to hide.
School should teach us a wider vision and a broader view. That goes for parents and students. Pettiness in our schools derails that.
We raise families and try to lift them up to put others firs, to see our own in another’s need. Pettiness derails that. We try to teach honesty above all, even if we only understand it in part ourselves. Pettiness laughs out loud at that as if were a target-rich weakness to be exploited. We earn a living and try to be honest so that the money is earned and deserved. Pettiness makes that all seem like a lost hope.
At night when our heads hit the pillows and we listen to our own breathing waiting for sleep to come over us with a sound like feathers nestling in, pettiness keeps us up, tossing and turned in twisted sheets and sleeplessness.
How can rest (or happiness) come easily after saying such self-serving and petty things? When, in the face of others’ good intentions and their successes, we reach for a rung-up, a one-up moment at the cost of hurting people who are working hard actually for something good, something better? Do we really care so little for others that nothing is sacred except their own pettiness, our cover-ups of insecurity? Our need for attention and validation? Is our intellectual and moral vacuousness so vast that nothing can reach across it to put us at ease? No kind act? No genuine goodness? No hope for something higher, cleaner and, yes, just a little better? Can nothing expiate our own emptiness except apparently more and more of it? More pettiness? Can we ever pass up the chance? Can we, just once, let it go and enjoy the flow of new ideas we didn’t come up with ourselves?
There is a Rubicon one must cross on the way out of pettiness … hope, and a little faith, too. It’s a leap, I know. It is the line in the sand we dare not cross. We drew the “red” line ourselves. On one side is unhappiness all too familiar. On the other is something else equally unfamiliar. The devil we know holds us in a full-body embrace, like a lover just on the verge. Too dear,too habitual: holding us down, keeping us from walking over the edge.
In overcoming pettiness, hope is the river you must cross, faith in yourself is the bridge you cannot see.
As you know, it takes a leap of some kind. But, remember as you leap to something, you also leap from something.
Perhaps that could be our propelling secret.