A week ago, if you’d have bet me a million dollars that I would get hooked on a British TV series about household servants in an English manor set in the early twentieth century, I’d have taken the bet. But, there you have it, I am a fan of Downton Abbey, my daughter received the first season as a Christmas gift and she, and my wife, and I got sucked into a world of maids, butlers, footmen, cooks, and modern nobility.
The series is a critical and popular hit around the world, a manner of soap opera, but it is smart and funny and even educational; it’s quite a history lesson. My two favorites characters are the butler, Mr. Carson, and the valet, Mr. Carson. They are polished, professional, reserved, and, especially, loyal. Middle aged men, both, they have come to understand that the meaning of their lives is found through service.
I like that idea. I like the idea of finding yourself through caring for others. I like the idea of honor. Of loyalty. Of service. Of family. These men of old fashioned ideas portray even older ideas, the prayer of St. Francis said it best:
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood,as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
Here’s hoping that I can spend 2013 in service, may these words serve as my resolution.