Posts Tagged ‘humility’
Last night, I completed my 43rd year on the planet.
No, I take that back. I’m moderately disappointed. I thought I’d be more than I am, after this long. To quote Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail, “I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
I still can’t watch the scene from that movie where she closes her little store without tears running down my face. I’ve had to do that, to kill something I loved because to keep it alive was to cause it suffering to no purpose. I’ve survived almost nine years in the mortgage industry, but our modest and occasional successes have not really filled in the holes left by the much more frequent times things were bad. We’ve done okay. I call it “moderately unsuccessful”. We have done good, quality work and helped a lot of people that wouldn’t otherwise have been served, but we’ve never managed to make a real success of it. Very recently, the good work I thought I was doing, in an area I thought I was good at, turned out not to be valued by people I consider my friends. That hurt a good deal, and still does.
Most everything else in my life is better than that, but again, I’m so far short of excellence in so many areas. The fact is that I haven’t even reached for excellence. I treat my wife well, and we love each other, but couldn’t I be better? I’m a good father to my many children, but every softball season I’m reminded that I haven’t had a catch with any of my kids…ever. In a thousand little ways, practically every day, I’ve put them second and third and eighteenth. I pray, but not as hard as I could. I read the scriptures every day, but they slide past my eyes without impression. I write, but I don’t dare to try doing it for money. What if I’m not as good as I think I am?
As I consider this, though, I’m reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis, one of my favorites: The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.
Now, I find myself in the presence of God quite a lot. I invite Him here, and I try to welcome Him when He comes. My wife and children, and so many of my friends, are among His greatest warriors, and their presence invites His. So I see myself as a small, dirty object extremely often. But then, the truth of it is that if we are honest, we all do. We all know we’re not what we could be. We all know we could be doing better than we are.
The key for me today and all days is to forget myself altogether. Since I can’t stop myself from thinking – I’ve tried, and it only works when I’m watching Michael Bay movies – I had better get in the habit of thinking about you instead.
So happy birthday to you!