May 29, 2007
Liz published this at 11:10 am
Once when I was about eight, I saw this sentence written in an open space on a church bulletin.
The funny thing about humility is the second you think you have it, you don’t.
Obviously that sentence stayed with me. I revisit it often. I still see it. The original had been typed on the master sheet by a manual typewriter. As I reflect on the image, the sentence itself looks humble compared to what we look at now.
I reflect on one idea every time I encounter that word humility It’s been the same since the day I first saw that sentence.
We get ourselves into weird shapes and strange configurations chasing after humility.
Humility is the recluse star of the virtues. It starts with the same H as halo.
What Humility Is Not
I can tell you what I know about humility. Then maybe you’ll tell me more. That would be useful, because the elusiveness of humility means we know more about what it is not than we do about what it is.
In fact, what humility is not is a good place to start. Humility is the absence of many things that we can do without.
Humility is not about deprivation. Humility is about more, not less. A humble heart gives more, has more room, sees more good, and is more generous.
Humility doesn’t make itself less. It doesn’t think of itself at all. So less cannot happen.
Humility does not bring itself down. It raises others up higher yet. A humble heart can hold up a chin. For a heart to do less would be to devalue everyone. Humility is about giving value, not taking it away.
Humility is not false. It doesn’t pretend to something it’s not. It doesn’t deny the truth about what is good. A star needs to shine fully bright to remain a star. A humble star knows that shining is what it does well and is generous with its light. Falsehoods in any form, are not humility. They are a denial of the truth, that’s something else.
What Is Humility?
Humility is without guile. It needs no plot, no plan. It has no needs at all.
Humility is not about me. It doesn’t make me bigger or smaller. It’s about everyone else. We don’t know when we have it, because when we look at ourselves, it is gone.
–ME “Liz” Strauss