Virtue of the Season: Humility

Since I’ve become aware of them at all, I’ve always believed humility is the most underrated and most valuable of all the virtues. Obviously. And I love the reminder that being humble doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself it just means thinking about yourself less (I think that’s Dallas Willard but don’t quote me on it).

It wouldn’t be appropriate to call humility the show horse of the virtues. Patience, for example, probably gets more attention. The Apostle Paul made a pretty strong case for love as the “greatest” of all virtues. But I’m still going to choose humility if called upon to pick just one. I’ve written about it before.

Most of all, I’m thinking about humility a lot because of the season I’m living in.

1. My work – One of my part-time jobs is as a reading coach at a community college here in Omaha. I work with so many inspiring students that I wouldn’t even know where to start with the stories. As if I even could. I can’t tell their stories anyway – I signed some papers about it. But the short story is that sitting down in the chair in a reading lab takes humility. Whether it’s an international student with a master’s degree in his own country or a GED student trying to turn around the ship of her life, it is never easy to look your weakness in the eye and say, “I’m going to do something about you.” The work is repetitive and the training for my certification is kind of intense, but I’ve never felt so practically useful to someone outside of my own family. The humility of my students inspires me.

2. My education – As a student, I recognize the need for humility, too. My professor promised that we could become experts at some (very, extremely, tiny) corner of the literary world and I believed him. Then I started researching and I thought he was crazy. But now I’m a little further down the road – if you care, I’m studying the narrative theory in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford – and he might be right. What I had to do was get humble and read, read, read. I had to be brave enough to ask dumb questions in class. It’s not even close to over, but I’m proud of my progress. How ironic, right?

3. My favorite roles – I’m in a new city. Because I drive to work everyday, I’m learning it fast. But I’m away from home more than I’m used to. We’re down to one car (THAT was perfect timing, huh?) and that means Dan and I just can’t get everyone where they need to go at the right time without some help. So, for example, tonight I drove “home” to Dan’s parents house where the girls and supper were waiting for me at the table. (Dan is out of town.) After eating, the girls and I drove to pick-up Jesse at football practice where Grandpa had dropped him earlier. It’s all working beautifully, I just have to keep fighting the urge to pretend to be Super Woman.

It’s a beautiful virtue. One I’m learning to use and probably negating by writing about.

Practiced any humility lately? C’mon, don’t make me be the only one.