Glass Houses, Falling Down
There is real spiritual growth in admitting that one’s life is not blameless even as one is dedicated effectively to working for the blameless life.
—Rev. Howard Thurman
The best adages produce a felt sense of the experience they are built to convey. Whenever I hear “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” I have a fleeting sense of a bird pressing itself out of my weak grip, a sense that instantaneously conjures the emotional counterpoint of loss. The most dramatic of these adage experiences comes to me with the phrase: “Don’t throw stones in glass houses.” I am suddenly standing (in my mind) in an empty green-house like structure that is violently imploding, spitting falling shards on all sides. I bow (in my mind), gripping my hands over my head for protection.
The first time I heard the ‘stones in glass house’ adage I was a child and I had to ask what it meant. The explanation made immediate sense to my young self and hasn’t slipped. There is something about the felt sense that the adage conjures, that no other string of words could as purely and simply accomplish.
The felt sense invokes the emotional experience of humility. I bow down, seeking protection, as the facade disintegrates. The facade is the assumption of purity or perfection - the pedestal that I have placed myself upon. Humility is the recognition that even I can’t live up to or into the… More...