By Father Jonathan Filkins, St. Barnabas Anglican
The Picayune Item
Mary Kay Ashe was one of the true pioneers of women’s entrepreneurship, with her creation of the internationally successful Mary Kay Cosmetics company. In an earlier world, less accepting of women as business leaders, she provided a template for others to follow. In person, she projected an almost regal appearance, resplendent in well-tailored couture, fine accessories and perfect makeup. Yet, Mary Kay was never one to be haughty, or place herself above others. With her warmth and solicitous nature, she enhanced both the pocketbooks and self-images of millions.
As so many who are successful in business, regardless of gender, Mary Kay had a philosophy about life and how to approach it: Treat others as you do yourself and reject the actions of those who would do less. While the “Golden Rule” and the commandment from Christ Jesus, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” are familiar and obvious, this matter of rejecting sinful behavior is less clear.
Often called upon to make motivational appearances and be in contact with the public, this “Grand Dame” came armed with an unusual weapon. She called it a “Warm Fuzzy.” It was a small pink puffball, with two round, spinning, eyes and a pair of sticky cardboard feet. If Mary Kay found you to be expending the extra effort, to aid in selflessly serving others, it was not unusual to find one, or more, of these unique creations stuck on your shoulder and her asking you to accept her “Warm Fuzzy” compliment. It was her way of saying thanks and recognizing good work.
However, the request to accept, also came with permission to reject. Mary Kay would tell of the opposite of the “Warm Fuzzy.” It was that “Cold Prickly,” given by others needing to enhance their own sense of self-worth, or delivered from our own internal diminished self-perceptions. All of this, at the emotional expense of the intended receiver of the message. She would tell of our ability to make positive daily choices, by treasuring the positives and rejecting the negative forces in our lives.
The deep hurts so many of us may feel, sometimes for only a moment and sometimes unnecessarily carried to the grave, are directly related to first accepting and then retaining the “Cold Prickly’s” in our lives. From whatever source we find them: family, friend, boss, peer, or even ourselves, we accept these Cold Prickly’s, store them up and let them burn within. In their constancy, and in our inability to reject the negative messages, we lose our true selves. We are overtaken by our natures, to readily accept less than what is right and good, something less than our positive nurturing with God , so necessary for our well-being.
While Mary Kay Ashe did not publically profess a particular faith, her statements to others were biblical. Her message was to reject the negative, by rejecting those thoughts and actions, both within and without ourselves, which demean and tear us down. Here is the proper course for daily living. With the ready acceptance, of the positives of our lives, we come to a better place; not only for ourselves, but to this world and in the world to come.