Mice and Lions

 

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– Rebekah Burcham
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In a bad-informed attempt to make myself more  “humble,” at fourteen I began to make sure I thought absolutely nothing about myself. Every compliment I received was painstakingly undermined by a close examination of my faults. My burgeoning talent at writing wasn’t allowed to be acknowledged. I compared myself to everyone prettier, smarter, faster, sweeter than myself and nodded smugly at my deflating pride.
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My idea of a humble girl was a mousy, demure creature who thought of herself as worthless, no matter how grand she might be. So with one eye I made sure everyone thought I was incredible, and with the other I made sure I didn’t.
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But, as C.S. Lewis, the brilliant apologist and creator of the Chronicles of Narnia, said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
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My humility was more self-absorbed than my pride. Oops.
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Humility has a bad reputation. We have images of monks eating only butterless bread and drinking only water, hanging their bald heads, and pacing glumly through blank halls. We see spineless cowards bending humbly to villainous wills. We see girls staring at mirrors and saying, Oh, me, little me…
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But if humility is thinking of ourselves less, we have no time to think less of ourselves. We’re out there being lions for the weak, swinging at the giants, strangling the goblins. We’re on our knees building houses for those who live in cardboard boxes. We’re serving hor d’oeuvres at a party to raise awareness for the lack of life-giving water in Africa. We’re chatting about mystery thrillers over tea with an eighty year old woman who doesn’t have much time left. We’re spitting in the villains’ faces and overcoming our phobias and walking the poles on bridges.
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Don’t hang your head. Look up and see the people.
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The beauty of humility is that it erases the need for masks and acting. You aren’t thinking of yourself, so you’re real. Instead of monitoring your image and inspecting your “humility”, you’re suddenly free to love people.
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Humility is being outside of ourselves. And as soon as we are outside of ourselves, well, the inconceivable happens.  We see truth. We see the real world, clean of the film of self-consciousness. We see people, people that comprise a whole earth of hope and need. And we can change the world. Not as an individual throwing hammers at a Jericho, but as a part of something so much bigger than just us, an army of thousands stepping out of their skins and being truly humble.
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And you know what? That’s beautiful.
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“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.
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4 Comments

  1. Em said,

    February 22, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Ah, Bekah. Was this inspired by the Facebook comments? About classics? 🙂 Can you post the link there?

  2. February 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I’m sure was an unconscious inspiration :). I will!

  3. Sarah said,

    February 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you for this piece of “Humble Pie”, I totally agree!

  4. Tharkun said,

    March 22, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Well said! I think I may have to start following this blog 😉


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