The Gift of Humility

“The triumph of grace is that we accept the humiliation of failure, which is indeed a triumph, a greater triumph than external success. In actual fact, the experience of failure in ministry teaches us in the long run how to do it, which is with complete dependence on God.”

Thomas Keating

Thomas Keating (March 7, 1923 – October 25, 2018) was an American Catholic monk and priest of the Trappist order. Keating was known as one of the principal developers a contemporary method of contemplative prayer known as Centering prayer.

For more about humility see these posts:

Rest in Humility

It’s Hard to be Humble!

Be Patient And Humble?

New Month/New Theme

It took me a while to come up with a new theme for this month — a lot has been covered in the past four years!  However, we’ve started a new study in our adult Sunday School class, and the topic is:  Growing Through Life’s Challenges.  Here are some of the things we’ll be talking about.  They’re experiences we all face:

  • Rejection
  • Overwhelming responsibilities
  • Loss and Grief
  • Being in the middle
  • Sin
  • Depression and Anger
  • Pressure to compromise
  • Perplexing situations
  • Failure
  • Weakness

This month I’ll be reading, discussing and praying about these kinds of difficulties.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride, and maybe add some of your own insights!

God loves you and so do I!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or is it?  Most of us in the US will be getting up early to cook a turkey and pull together the meal of the year.  Family may be coming over and this is a test to see how well you can handle the stress.  There are some of us that love this kind of thing, doing all the work, watching family enjoy the meal, seeing some of the family that you haven’t seen in a while.  And then there are the rest of us….

Yes, I’m one that hates the stress and bother of having a ton of people at my house.  Let me give you some background on this:  My mother was one of the above described people.  She loved nothing more than fixing a ton of food and seeing 20 to 50 or more people descend on our home and enjoy themselves.  She actually catered my wedding reception for over 200 people without blinking an eye.  I grew up underneath this shadow.  Of course, while growing up I helped my mom do all this.  Thanksgivings, Christmas, she even had an open house on New Year’s Day every year.

Thankful HeartsFast forward about 15 years.  My mom is in a nursing home; suffering from multiple strokes and seizures.  It’s November and my dad calls to ask what I’m going to do for Thanksgiving.  Well, gee.  I’m backed into a corner and tell him I guess I’ll fix up a dinner.  Then it’s the transportation issue for my mom.  She’s in a wheelchair and unable to walk.  Lucky me that I’m working for an agency that transports handicapped individuals and have access and training to get my mom and transport her to my house (with permission, of course).  My brother abstains from driving an hour to come, so it’s just my parents and my family.

I wanted the day to go perfectly because this was probably my mom’s last Thanksgiving (it was).  Coordinating cooking with transport wasn’t easy.  Taking care of mom’s needs and handling it all was harder.  So, in the middle of all this…  I drop the turkey!  ON THE FLOOR.  I almost had a nervous breakdown.

The day didn’t get better after that; in fact, it went downhill.  Dinner was delayed while we cleaned up the mess (have you ever cleaned up the mess a dropped turkey makes?  Yuck!)  Mom started having seizures and didn’t stop.  I had to abandon it all to take her back to the nursing home.  The day, in my eyes, was a complete failure.

I let that day color the rest of the time I had with my mom.  I didn’t do everything with the grace and poise that she always had.  I didn’t meet the standards that she had set when I was younger.  I wasn’t good enough.

Since then, with God’s grace, I have a different outlook on the whole Thanksgiving holiday.  Looking back, I would have rather spent time with my mom and dad and family and maybe fixed a simple dinner.  I’ve learned since that time that you don’t have to have turkey.  We’ve had spaghetti, lasagna and mac and cheese in these past years.  We’ve invited people to join us at our simple family meals so they won’t be alone.  Yes, we still have turkey on occasion, but only if we feel like doing the whole deal.  Otherwise, it’s just dinner.

Be thankful and cherish what you have right now because you may not have it tomorrow.  Relax and love your family around you; they won’t be here forever.  Try not to get wrapped  up in the preparations of the meal.  If problems come up, and you know they will, take it “with a grain of salt” and continue on.  The world won’t come to an end. And remember to Thank the Lord always for this day and the other 365 days after it.