Friday, August 1, 2008

Training for humility

Coming to the Mountain, the days and weeks leading up to it,and the move itself, was an exercise in humility. Such an out pouring of support and generousity. Several people gave up large portions of their day (and some gave several consecutive days, thanks parents and in-laws!)just to help us out. When we arrived at Sewanee there were several people just waiting to help, amazing. All this is humbling.

Humility is a virtue we don't spend too much time with anymore. In our pride we equate humility with humiliation. That's the rub, pride. Pride takes the grace out of a gift and calls it humiliation. There is grace in a gift given, but there is grace in a gift received. That grace is the acceptance of a gift in full humility, full nakedness about your situation. Humility says, "Thank you, I really needed this, and I can't pay you back."

Humility then leads to gratitude. How many have heard the preacher say that we need to have the attitude of gratitude. But do we really? Life, albeit short so far, on the Mountain has shown me, nay, given me the space to have gratitude for insects, rain, dinner at the table, AJ's wink.

Mary Oliver gets to it when she writes in her poem Messenger: Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.


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