Celebrating Ma’at: Diligence and the Two of Cups

For the next 40 days, I will think about a value I have each day. I am also continuing the daily draw. I am also completing a short rite to Ma’at, and reading 10 pages a day of Dr. Karenga’s “Maat: The Moral Ideal”.

Today’s virtue was Diligence. The card from my daily draw was the 2 of cups, a card centering on relationships.

Diligence is defined by Merrium-Webster as “careful and continued hard work”. My first reaction to this word was to become just a little exhausted. Its not that I lack diligence. Generally, I am thorough.  Grad school has only exacerbated this tendency in some ways. But to be diligent requires effort, no matter what your task is. So today, my first day back from a relaxing long weekend, I will focus (almost begrudgingly) on being diligent.

Let’s stop here. When I first think of diligence, I think of work. But is diligence always focused on the work we do?

Maybe I think of work first because I was taught to be diligent in school, and as I aged this generalized to work. The ancients took doing diligent work seriously as well. Many declarations of virtue, declarations of innocence, and other wisdom texts that outline how Ma’at was upheld via some form of diligence. I am suddenly reminded of, “I have not trimmed the measure”, which I have always thought of as pertaining to intentionally fudging numbers, cutting corners, rigging a process, or  stealing. However, today it takes on a new meaning (one I don’t think its authors were aiming for) – that one might unintentionally “trim the measure” due to neglect, lack of attention, being in a hurry, or just plain apathy. But still…this is in the context of work or other laborious responsibilities (like household responsibilities).

Interestingly, I drew the two of cups. When it comes to diligence at work…I’m already maxing out. While a little more won’t hurt…its not my worklife that needs more diligence. Instead, its my relationships.

My friends will tell you that I’m not the best at staying in touch. Granted, I’ve gotten much better. But its likely still not to the extent it should be. Reflecting on this, its striking that I can spend so much time on work. My career is my livelihood and it puts bread on the table and I enjoy it greatly…but my friends and family are the ones that love me, take care of me when I’m sick or down, and supported me to begin this career in the first place.

It seems like I need to make a greater effort to be diligent not only at work, but also in my relationships. What does that mean, to be diligent in your relationships?

I think it means to inquire. To “check in” and see how things are going. To do things together, share experiences and time. To make small sacrifices if your aid is needed. To make an effort to say, “I’m thinking of you.” Usually we think of romantic relationships as needing the most effort and diligence.

But I’ve moved pretty far away…those around me I see so regularly, its easier to be diligent with those relationships. But those far away, its harder to check in. Its harder to share experiences. Its harder to remember to say, “I was wondering how you were? What’s up?”

But these relationships mean a lot to me. And they deserve their due diligence. If Ma’at is doing right by people, it means doing right by the ones near and far. In this respect…I’ve dropped the ball.

So today, my resolution is to talk to someone I haven’t in a while. I have friends I haven’t texted or called in at least a month. To do my diligence, I will text or call all of them. Diligently.

 

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