I may have mentioned before the Lois McMaster Bujold is my favorite author. I would read anything she wrote. Well, maybe not her grocery list, but… I love her work so much that I will probably be rereading her books until I am old and decrepit. I hope she keeps writing and writing so that I have plenty to read and reread.
I consider her books to be “comfort food” — when I can’t find anything else I want to read, I pick one up. Even though I know exactly what is going to happen, I’m still gripped by her writing and her characters. And every time I reread, I find some new gem that I had noticed before — or I’m reminded of an old gem that continues to ring true. Last night’s gem was particularly apropos because of a recent e-mail exchange with a friend.
In this particular passage, the main character’s father has been asked to give his “honor versus reputation lecture.”
From page 386 of my Baen paperback copy of A Civil Campaign, Aral Vorkosigan says to his son Miles:
“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.”
And then on page 387, from later in the conversation:
“There is no more hollow feeling than to stand with your honor shattered at your feet while soaring public reputation wraps you in rewards.” That’s soul-destroying. The other way around is merely irritating.”
In my recent e-mail exchange, I told my friend that my reputation is one of my most important assets, and that I do everything I can to protect it. Really, though, I had it wrong. It’s my HONOR that is most important. And if I do what I know to be true and honorable, then nothing else really matters.
Now don’t be worried, my reputation hasn’t been called into question, this was just part of a conversation with a friend that got me to thinking about why I am doing some of the things I’m doing, and the choices I am making.
I have never met (and will likely never meet) most of the people that visit my blog or the website that I run for machine quilters. I ask the members of that website to trust me based primarily on my reputation. That’s a lot to ask, and every day I am conscious of making decisions that might impact my reputation. If I can just remember that if I make those decisions with my HONOR intact, I know that the decisions I make will be the right ones.
On that note, it is time for me to wrap up this ramble and head to rehearsal. We are under 2 weeks to go until show time and wow, there is a LOT left to be done.