Friday, June 5, 2009
In the past few days I have been packing boxes at a pretty steady rate. As I put things away and pull furniture from the walls, remarkable discoveries happen. Some moments it seems as if a science project gone bad was hidden behind a dresser or bed, and then dust and time did their best to create life. The are real monsters under our beds, mostly made of dust and things that didn't have a proper home. It is very revealing when one begins to pack up a household. I thought I was pretty organized and tidy. But now, there is compounding evidence to the contrary. The final straw happened when our aged dining room table broke flinging all the piles of mail to be sorted across our known universe. It is truly humbling to have one's belongings tossed across the floor. Humanity revealed, humility restored.
"For every one who exalts themselves will be humbled, and the one who humbles themselves will be exalted." Luke 18:14
Pride comes easily when things are going well and the universe (or at least one's home) is ordered and functioning well. It is easy to look at other people's visible messes and thank God it isn't us. We all love to slow down and gape at accidents and drive on with ourselves intact. Most of life is messy though, and even the most wealthy, organized, brilliant and pious people cannot protect themselves from being human. We are all vulnerable and soft, no matter how hard and perfect our outer shell might be. "Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." The simple prayer that the tax collector prayed, echoes down through the centuries. A mystic on a pilgrimage called it the Jesus prayer. It is the prayer of the humbled, the prayer of all humanity. Our faithfulness to God, the author of love and life, is not based on what we can do, but how honest and vulnerable we can be to God, and to one another.
May this day, be a day when our hearts are open to honest humility. I want to not be ashamed of my humanity, nor pretend that everything is perfect. I want to be open before God and my fellow human beings. It is so hard to do, and yet this moving process is surely helping me see myself as I truly am. And it is teaching me to ask for help and take the support and care others are offering with a grateful, humble heart. May today be a day when our humility becomes a radiant light for those who suffer in shame and self judgment. May we spread love as we offer our genuine selves to God and to the people in our lives.