Courtesy shrinks from the state of the world’s manners. Just the other day she was taking the train into work. The hustle of the early morning commute can be jangly after a weekend spent drinking her early morning coffee while still in yoga pants, but as always she tries to see the bright side. Today, she is shocked to see, some yards ahead, a pregnant woman jostled to the point of falling by fellow travelers eager to get to their destination. The pregnant woman lies flat on her back, her belly bump soaring upward like a giant hill, the fellow passengers scurrying past without stopping to offer a hand in support. One man steps over her — quite the feat given the size of her belly bump — mumbling “sorry” as he runs off to catch his train. By the time Courtesy got there, the pregnant woman was on her feet, brushing detritus from her clothes. Courtesy put a hand on her arm in a show of support; there was nothing else to do.
Courtesy believes in wearing people down with kindness. “It’s free,” she says, so why not give it away? A little thrill runs through Courtesy every time she sees someone hold a door open, “proof,” she says, “that people are not savages.”
Courtesy never misses an opportunity to tap the brakes in traffic — it reduces that suffocating feeling of the cars closing in on her. She never yells at other drivers even when they do something rude. Why add more rage to a world already drowning in it? Courtesy waits her turn for a right on red, especially when oncoming traffic has the green. When someone cuts in front of her because they saw a three-second opportunity to sneak in, Courtesy always wonders what those people are going to do with their extra three seconds.
Courtesy stops and talks to her neighbors when she sees them even if she has a lot to do at home and not a lot of time for chatting. She realizes that relationships matter, not just digital relationships, but the face-to-face stuff; it’s the glue that holds a community together and she prefers to be part of the solution, not the problem.
Courtesy likes to plant trees so future generations can enjoy the comforting shade and the bounty of clean air that trees provide. She doesn’t mind that she won’t be around to see the trees when they are full-grown because somebody else planted the trees that she now enjoys and paying it forward is one of her favorite things, her gift to the future.
Courtesy throws her trash in a trash can, takes her recycling to the recycling center, and shuts off the light when she leaves a room, always conscious of conserving energy. Courtesy realizes she wears people down with her optimism, but she doesn’t mind it at all since it’s part of being courteous.
If you read my original post about The Twelve Virtues of the Merchant Priests, as suggested in the book, Sacred Commerce, my goal was to reflect upon and write about the 12 virtues discussed in the book — honor, loyalty, nobility, virtue, grace, trust, courage, courtesy, gallantry, authority, service, and humility — once a month for an entire year. The 12 virtues of the merchant priest “automatically lift us to a higher octave of being,” something today’s world is in dire need of, I believe. While I may have missed my once-a-month goal, I’m determined to finish the list even if it takes a couple years.
Thanks for reading.
pam lazos 11.24.19