Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Origami Heart

"Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds." "Friendship" Essays by Raplh Waldo Emerson

This year, one of my students taught our class how to make an origami hanbok for her multiple intelligence presentation. The paper yielded beautifully beneath her graceful fingers as she demonstrated the technique. I intently followed along, and at the conclusion of her instruction I held a beautiful work of art.

I told her the fact she could teach me to create a lovely semblance of her model, despite my fumbling fingers and general ineptitude of folding a straight line (or cutting, waking, running, writing or drawing a straight line for that matter), warrented her earning an "A." I am not gifted at creating paper origami creations. There is however, another realm in which I excel at creating folds. I have a hundred fold heart. 

Matthew 7:1-5 is in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus lays out an avalanche of advice for Christians to walk the talk. The words of Jesus in these specific verses is focused on judgement, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." 

Do not judge. Judge not. Pretty clear. If that imperative doesn't quite sink in Jesus adds a qualifier. If one is judging, they too shall be judged. The standard one uses to judge others will be applied to that one. Jesus leaves the audience with a call to self-examination prior to even considering the life or behavior of a brother, sister or community member. 

I possess critical acumen when self-reflecting. I am brutally honest with myself, within myself. I am aware of my multiple "planks." I am thoroughly occupied by my own life's two by fours, thick and long enough to suffice for any pirate ship. Therefore I don't have the occasion to consider "specks" that may be present around me. I wonder where is the place for accountability in my life then? I am a hypocrite by definition. My folding away of my heart creates a facade that becomes the epitome of mendacity. 

There are very few with whom I share the whole of my heart. There may be glimpses among the folds for those around me, but no complete revelation. I wonder though if this makes me a bit disingenuous. I think Emerson would say these folds impede true relationship or friendship. I want to argue with him a bit. Not every individual with whom I come in contact needs to be my closest confidant surely? That surface level chatting, exchanging pleasantries is just part of human interaction right? Are those exchanges worthwhile? Then I wonder if this is another part of my struggle to "make small talk." I was just telling a friend the other day that I believe I prefer sincere cold indifference to feigned warm interest. Perhaps Emerson is positing that it is impossible to be genuine when their are two individuals involved. Can one only be authentic within oneself? What if each one were to be honest within a community of trust and each encourage the other to be a truer walk of faith? 

This week's focus left me with more questions than answers as to how to unfold my origami heart.

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