"True contentment is a real, even an active, virtue---not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it." - G. K. Chesterton
He was a preacher in England with a promising future but he chose a quiet life in a parsonage. His calling to this lifestyle did not, necessarily come easy, as is evident in his poem, The Collar. His writings are simplistic in idea. He describes, for the pastor, a life of dignity. His advice for a parson are simple and noble as well. That a parson is one who empathizes with the blood, sweat, and tears that people who live out in such areas must face to make it through the day to day. The parson is advised to be a man who watches how he acts in public in regard to vices such as drinking. Notable to a parson, as well, is to guard what they say so that they keep their word as that is something which is held in highest regard to people who live in the country. It is the job of the pastor, among other things, to keep a keen eye out for the wiles of the time and the culture of the day. Understanding the culture can be an obvious yet pivotal part in ministry.
One can take Mr. Herbert to be a presumptuous man in stating all of these rules as if he knew a thing or two but it stands to reason that these are obvious and general assertions and guidelines that near any pastor or parson or chaplain could keep to in a variety of situations. George Herbert simply puts to pen and paper that which he has considered to be such obvious instruction that all such religious practitioners should be aware of. Keeping one's word, being educated about the culture, watching one's actions in public and private, and being a people person are all great things that Herbert has touched base on in the writings which were read in the honors program.
Yet why did I chose this reading over all the other great philosophical gems from the readings this week? Simply put, it harkened back to a simpler time in my own life. Before college and before I truly understood what I was called to do (not that I have a perfect grasp of that yet either haha). When I was younger, virtues of keeping one's word and doing the right thing were common enough family patterns and cultural norms in my home that I simply took to them. I considered it an honor to be chivalrous to the women that I knew and to be honorable to the men in my life. To consider other people with equity and kindness was simply an ideal nature to be sought after by anyone and everyone. The curious thing to me was why people didn't do it anyway. Perhaps the compliments my grandma paid me were what truly inspired me to act like I did; maturely and with thought. Either way I thank my family for, "learning me such etiket." Things have changed of late, though (and through all of my history for that matter). Before anyone thinks me too self-righteous I know that I have my faults. But when I was younger, these ideas of being better than everyone else weren't so prevalent. It wasn't a competition to act kind. It wasn't a tally mark of right and wrong when I said thanks. Or at least I don't remember it as being one. I'm rambling now so I should end this. I liked George Herbert because he reminded me of those virtuous ideals I had when I was growing up. The end.