Ah, Downton Abbey. A new obsession enabled by PBS.
And, if Ronald Rolheiser is right about spirituality being about what we do with our desire (see “About”, re this WordPress blog) then, I am beginning to wonder about some of the characters’ desires…specifically, our young Crawley Ladies: Mary, Edith and Sybil. Or, metaphorically speaking (and perhaps somewhat simply put): Attention, Revenge and Service.
Lady Mary wants a man. She will toy with others – potential suitors, and her sister, Edith – in service to that desire.
Lady Edith lost true love, un-done by Lady Mary. She is most resentful.
Their dynamic is poisoned by dissatisfaction, competition, suspect motives, and continual re-wounding.
Lady Mary turns ever more toward manipulation, alienating any true feeling. Lady Edith nurses her resentment into revenge (for those not up-do-date, I will not divulge. But, please watch til the end of Episode 3).
For me, this is a classic situation, crying out for some spiritual solutions, a re-direction of energy and desire. Where is the soul-searching? Admitting their “stuff”, sweeping their own sides of the street, and making amends?
Lady Sybil, on the other had, embodies what I think healthy spirituality can look like, at it’s best: service to others. Moving outside oneself. Accompanying another on their journey. Even if it is to a new job as a typist, a situation perhaps considered far below Lady Sybil’s station, and less desirable than a secure position in as grand a household as Downton Abbey. But, it’s not Lady Sybil’s path, and nor does that matter to her…it’s Gwen’s, the under housemaid.
“There are many paths to the mountaintop” said Confucius. And I believe that we can help each other climb. Or, we can bring each other down.
So, the daily decision…the true Lady (Sybil) or the tigers (Mary and Edith)?