Pause For Humility
What does humility mean to you? I could pull some good sounding words out my cubicle mind/me-character hat to answer this question, but I won’t. Instead I will share how confused I was about humility most of my life. Probably like many of us I once thought to be humble was to hide behind the curtain, let people step all over you, don’t speak up or loudly enough so anyone can hear you, and don’t stir the pot. Turns out this is not what it is to practice humility. Yes, I am seeing that humility, like Pause for Inspiration, is a practice. A practice in letting go of who I think I am in exchange for who I am truly.
One way to see humility. Notice I did not say “understand humility.” I am uncovering that my understanding is highly overrated! So, instead I am opening to truly seeing humility. Well, I saw humility abounding two weeks ago where we were sharing the Pause for Inspiration free materials and I was speaking on “Pause for Your Inner Resources” at the Missouri Rehabilitation Conference in Lake of the Ozarks. The conference began with a Sunday evening awards banquet. Now, I don’t know about you, but I generally have no interest in receiving awards myself much less sitting for hours and watching other people receive awards. No offense please. However, this awards banquet struck me in a way that I am still finding myself lingering in; the experience of true humility! I found a new “inner resource.”
One by one the award winners were recognized and moseyed on up to the stage. I was truly humbled watching all this happen. There were no long speeches, no taking in the spotlight, not at all. Rather each person was clearly deeply touched in being recognized, yet clearly not at all in need of recognition, approval or a round of applause. It seemed to me that each person simply saw themselves as doing their job, loving the people they serve, and showing up moment-to-moment to do whatever needed to be done. I didn’t perceive any false humility or grandiosity. Most of them simply quietly and hesitantly approached the microphone and said, “Thank you” and walked away. One person said, “I have nothing to say.” Another didn’t even speak.
Then there was Mr. Humble himself. The speaker told the story of this young man, challenged with learning disabilities, whom had recently lost his job of eight years washing dishes in a local restaurant. He got an interview with the local Bandana’s. As the manager was interviewing him, asking questions, this young man saw a server carrying lots of plates of food and struggling to manage it all. So, he said to the manager in the middle of the interview, “Excuse me, she needs some help.” He proceeded to get up and go over and help the server! He got the job. I see this as humility. He was less concerned about impressing the manager with stories about himself and instead became a demonstration of service.
As I watched these people, they moved me on the inside. I became humbled in their presence. I shifted from being tired after a long day of packing, driving, unpacking, and looking forward to my pajamas and bed, to becoming absolutely still on the inside. My own ego sense of what it is to be humble, crumbled. What I am finding in humility is strength and enthusiasm. “Thank you.”