Today’s Daily Stoic prompt: Do my principles show themselves in my life?
Over 20 years ago, when the Kingdom of Ealdormere was being formed, I saw the position of Lawspeaker being created and said to myself, “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.” When I said that, I was aspiring to be a person who could be counted on to deal fairly with all, who valued justice as a key virtue, and who was committed to service to the community without the carrot of receiving reward or recognition. The Lawspeaker can hold no other office during their term, and must endeavour to always be on the side of justice in all dealings. Justice here is very much in the Stoic sense–giving each person their rightful due, without bias. The Lawspeaker not only serves as the facilitator for the Moot – which means having the ability to act as a moderator for a large round table-like discussion which can, at times, become contentions–but also, behind the scenes, they are a key player in the resolution of disputes, which is why it is so important that they know something about how to mediate disagreements in a way that engenders trust for the process.
Justice is the hardest of all the virtues, which is part of why I have always aspired to it.
I knew at the time the office of Lawspeaker was created that it was not something I was immediately qualified to take–I was lacking in experience and wisdom. And now, as I am finishing out my term, I know from personal experience that it can challenge a person in unexpected ways. I got to help lead the Kingdom in some very positive directions–but I also was the first person in the office to need to conduct a Court of Inquiry, which took place in the midst of the pandemic. That was a tremendous amount of stress–but it was the job I signed up for, and I was committed to what I had sworn to do. I think I did OK. I was able to do the job based on the principles I had committed to, and to do my very best to treat all with fairness and understanding. But I had to also accept that being seen as committed to justice does not necessarily lead to having everybody like you, and that in all likelihood those engaged in a significant disputes aren’t going to join hands and make up when the process is over–instead, the best outcome possible is probably some kind of modus vivendi that the parties can live with, keeping the amount of collateral damage to a minimum.
Evening: So for me what it comes down to is the idea of respect, which, as the saying goes, is earned, not given. I want to earn respect as someone who does, indeed, do their utmost to strive towards a set of ideals and to live them in daily life. I know I will not be perfect, and I need to be realistic about my limits and to continue to learn from my experiences. For instance, I, like many other people, have preferred to hope that certain problems would simply go away rather than doing anything about them. And sometimes they do. But more than often they just fester and cause more pain than they would have had they been addressed earlier. I think I’m getting a little better at this, which definitely takes a certain amount of courage, but I have so much more to learn.
Today I finished the wrap cape (picture to come once I can get one taken). Instead of starting on the next embroidery project, however, I spent a couple of hours crafting an outfit for a stuffed animal–because if there is one thing I’ve learned about this current time, it’s that when I feel that sudden rush of inspiration to do something, I should do it. Nothing has a deadline right now. So now Herissony Cat has a Rus’ coat that matches mine.