Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Humility is an odd thing. In order to appear greater than we are, we're supposed to decline any praise about something we do well in the first place. I didn't understand humility growing up. Someone would mention that I was a good pianist, and at the time, I thought I was incredible. I'd say "thank you" and allow my ego to swell even more. Then I met a guy who could play the piano so much better than I could. I wanted to be just like him. I worked hard (for about ten minutes) at becoming better than him. Eventually, I learned he'd always be better. He still is... and he has an ego to go with it.

Working in a retirement facility, I experienced true humility. What is it to serve someone who truly cannot do for themself? I find it an honor. I cannot begin to remember all the times I sat and had breakfast with the old ladies... so many good memories! and so many lessons. The aging process is cruel at times, and I hope I eased the minds, or at least the frown lines, of many an old person in their last days. One old man--truly mean at his core--would order eggs a special way every morning. If the eggs weren't exactly right, I'd have to re-cook them. Several times, I recooked them. Complaining did me no good... so I served him again and again. And another lady, she was a handful. She threw toast at me more than once (and she had good aim!). Now, she's one of my friends.

The job doesn't seem like it would teach humility the hard way or the right way or whatever, but it did. Serving these people at the crack of dawn until late afternoon was hard. I didn't want to go to work every day and pour coffee or wash dishes. But going to work, going through the motions and sayings of someone who must be humble taught me a great deal. Serving others (food or other things) became a true joy. I'm not sure I would have learned this lesson as well elsewhere.

Now, I'm dumbstruck when someone tells me I'm a good dancer. Who, exactly, have they been watching!? I don't know all the steps, and I often have incorrect form. I find my attempt at Latin dances abominable, although (tee hee) it is fun to try. While I'm comfortable with my body, I'm not often comfortable with how it moves. Hand/arm placement is questionable, and I get dizzy too quickly on a dance floor (even when spotting). People tell me I'm "good," but I don't see it. I'm not that good. It's not fake humility. I'm not a terrible follow, but I'm still not that good yet.

I find humility a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, it is good to be humble. But I still have to learn when to stand up and take a compliment.

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