Most of us are drawn to humble people. They have a way of teaching us lessons, not in a formal sense, but by example. It is a curious thing… we seek out humility in others, and yet it is the discipline of humility to which few of us aspire. Not that we do not want to be thought of as humble, we just think too highly of ourselves in a ‘me’ centered culture. Our desire to get ahead typically drives us, instead of placing others in front. What exactly does it mean to be humble? Contrary to popular notions, it is not being a human doormat. Yourdictionary.com defines humble as, “Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.” Humble people are meek (exhibiting strength under control), and modest (unassuming or moderate in the estimation of their abilities) and dare I say, rare.
I have been in the process of getting my house ready for sale for longer than I had planned due to unexpected delays. Now entering the empty nester season, I no longer “need” a larger home and all of the contents that accompany it. One necessary final component of preparation was to hire someone to do a deep cleaning of my whole house before listing it on the market. My friend and realtor suggested to me someone that she commissions regularly to help me accomplish this goal. The house cleaner and I connected by phone yesterday, and she happened to have an opening in her schedule for today. Elated, I put away the clutter in anticipation of her visit, and set in my mind that I would settle myself on my bed with my casted foot elevated for the duration of her work, while catching up on computer tasks. After all, I am dealing with a fractured right foot and mobility issues, correct? I have an anticipated four to six more weeks in this cast and am limited in my abilities; especially cleaning the house.
My new found friend, Pam who I spoke with yesterday, arrived today with her associate, Pat, to spend the day dusting, mopping, and scrubbing every nook and cranny. Pat rang the doorbell and greeted me, then asked me to open the garage door for Pam. Pam proceeded to enter into my home wearing the same exact Cam cast boot that I wear, on her left foot!!! She used crutches to get up the stairs then maneuvered around on a foldable knee scooter. This woman told me that she also fell down the stairs and sustained a Jones fracture across her entire foot. The injury occurred in JANUARY, she can only bear 25% of her weight on it, she will not be out of her cast until next January, and will then need to use a walker until she learns how to walk independently again. And here she was to do a deep cleaning of my house. Seriously? She assured me that she has been cleaning houses with her injury and has her associate do anything she cannot. Her humble attitude and gentle demeanor caught me off guard.
While Pam is HUMBLE, I am HUMBLED and stunned. While examining my home to inquire what I wanted accomplished, she explained her injuries, yet encouraged me in my recovery. She offered me insights and ideas on how to manage. She remained positive without complaint. You see, Pam was not focused on herself. She was focused on me and how she could make my life enhanced. She could have easily “one-upped” me as her injury was definitely more severe, but her practice of humility brought about a different reaction. And I learned from her. A lot.
Humble people are wise people. It goes hand in hand. James 3:13 AMP says, “Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him by his good conduct show his [good] deeds with the gentleness and humility of true wisdom.” This quiet, unassuming house cleaner was more than what met the eye. Her good deeds infused with humility and true wisdom jolted me out of my self-focused mentality and left me pondering what I could begin to DO in good conduct. I desired to not just enjoy the benefits of another’s company who displayed humility, but to truly yearn for the quality in myself. I am left with not only a clean home, but a fresh perspective and a renewed intention. By definition, the process of becoming humbled must precede humility, then in our actions and attitudes of heart, we become the teachers.