Sunday, January 11, 2009

On Humility

Growing up, one of the first lessons I needed to learn (and learn the hard way) was humility. Now I'm not saying I have it all figured out--that would be unfair, dishonest, and obviously untrue. Sheesh, I have a whole blog about me: could I be any less humble? HA!

Humility is a painful lesson as life is often a cruel teacher. As a child, I stumbled, I hated it, and I selfishly rued anyone who needed anything from me. Just a kid, what could I offer another? Everything about me was so important that I couldn't drop anything to help, not even setting aside my games to fold my own laundry or put away my own dishes. But Mom insisted, persisted, and then demanded. With grumblings and groans, I eventually did as I was told. Still, they were my dishes and my clothes, not another's. My life was all about me.

When we'd go to my grandparents' house, if an adult left their comfortable chair to get water or stir dinner, I'd sneak into their spot "just to keep it warm." Truthfully, I was tired of sitting on the floor like a child and wished to sit on real chairs like the big people. Eventually the adult would return and Mom would hush to me, "get up, give the older people the chair." Psh, no fair. Fifteen years later, I found myself working in a retirement facility with old people. I began to learn how life's cruelties result in real physical pain. I was forced to serve these people through my job, forced to see them and chose to learn from them and the experience. Now, I can't imagine not giving up my chair for an elderly person. It's an honor to say, "no, you sit, I can stand or take the floor."

This weekend was yet another lesson in humility. My boyfriend was around for part of the weekend, and I was able to serve him by doing some things for him. It's not about taking the credit or announcing to the world that I'm an amazing girlfriend (that's another post, ha!). Better is that I'm still learning what it means to be humble. I'm learning what it means to set aside my things, my wants, my needs in order to do something for someone else.

Even more, humility is a great act of love. It says, "I love you more than I love myself." My hope is that I can continue to grow in love and find new ways of being humble to others. Humility is a hard lesson to learn, a never-ending process of trials and mistakes as we seek to put others before ourselves. I'm still learning.

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