“We should be humble! We should all pray for humility! Every day! But, be careful. ‘Cuz when you pray for humility, you’re gonna be humiliated! That’s the path to humility…humiliation.” Although I heard this from a beloved priest almost a year ago, it’s still fresh in my mind. This particular priest was always passionate in his homilies, and this was yet another time when he was literally pounding the pulpit with his fist and pointing to the congregation. (Side note…he was always sure to point to himself first. He would constantly say, “We are all sinners. Myself included.” He wasn’t one of these “Do as I say, not as I do” people.) I don’t think anyone ever slept through his Mass, unless they were maybe deaf. The man didn’t even really need a microphone. You get it…he knew how to make a point.
I’m a spaz. Anyone who knows me well knows this. I fall, I trip, I drop things, I spill things. I’m constantly in embarrassing situations. I’m often embarrassingly misread and misunderstood by others. My mother should have named me “Grace”; it would’ve been the greatest joke of all time.
I’m also a perfectionist, so when I do something, I do it all the way. So, my screw ups are BIG screw ups. Here’s some examples…
- I spilled a bowl of gumbo on myself at my wedding rehearsal dinner. Not a normal day. Not at home by myself. Nope. The night before my wedding, with all of my soon to be in-laws present. I could just imagine what was going through their minds…”Oh, poor Jeremy. What has he gotten himself into? I hope they will have good home owners insurance, I think she’s accident prone. Is she special?” Oh, and did I mention that I was wearing a white shirt? Of course I was.
- The next day, for my wedding, my shoes didn’t fit. Somehow they were too big. (Is there such a thing as Shrinking Feet Syndrome?) Terrified that the night before was just the prelude to the real embarrassment of falling down the aisle, I took the safe route and went barefoot. Don’t judge. No one knew, and it gave me peace of mind. Plus, I didn’t want to risk it. As it was, I left the house without my jewelry and had to wait for someone to go get it, the flower girls’ flowers weren’t at the church, and the flowers for the cake didn’t arrive either. Oh, and it rained. The Husband should have taken it as an omen. Good thing for me, he didn’t run away.
- A classmate was a nurse in the operating room during the delivery (c-section) of The Younger Boy. That’s not embarrassing at all. Nope. Everyone wants their old classmates to see them in their naked glory. Humiliating. To this day, when I see her on Facebook, I blush.
- I had an aunt that I loved dearly. This woman was a true treasure, and after years of fighting breast cancer, she was called Home. It was the day of her funeral and one of the worst days of my life. As I’m walking out of the church, I fell (rolled) down the front steps. I was wearing an above knee-length dress and heels–I guess I was asking for it. Here was my exact thought process: “You’ve got to be *expletive* kidding me.” Immediately followed by, “Oh my God! Is my butt showing?” Immediately followed by, “Oh my God! What underwear am I wearing?” Luckily, my sister was right there, and she hid me while I quickly got up. (Oh, how I love her! She also reassured me that if my butt was indeed showing, she’d have covered it. That’s love.) Adding to my tear-stained face and smeared make-up, I now had torn pantyhose, scratches on my knees and hands, and an overall look of dishevelment. I looked like a truck stop nightmare.
- The Husband and I were in Vegas for a convention. Walking through Caesar’s Palace, I busted it. On a flat floor. In flat shoes. That takes talent, people. Bow down to the Queen of Spaz. One leg went east; the other went west. I’m actually thankful that I didn’t split right up the middle. At least I was in jeans this time–there’s always a bright side.
- And, again for a recent surgery, an old classmate and friend was in the operating room. This one was worse, though. I went in to the operating room wearing one gown and came out wearing another. So, unless there’s a clothes changing fairy at the hospital, I’m sure she was at least present during my ensemble change. Once again, Humiliating.
Like I said, I’m a perfectionist. Apparently, in every area. Either go big or go home, right?
Yet, I still pray for humility. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. I guess I just hope that eventually I’ll get it, and the humiliation will stop. Why is humility important anyway? Is it really necessary to get to Heaven? Can’t I just do extra credit work in some other way to cross out the whole humility thing?
Then there are times when I’ll say, “Why does this keep happening?!? I’m humble!” Um…yeah…because humble people always say that they’re humble. Sigh. Back to the drawing board…you obviously don’t get it.
I’m too worried about what others think. It shouldn’t matter to me, but it does. That’s my problem. I put emphasis on things that really aren’t important, instead of focusing on living a Christian life. If the whole point of this life is to get Home, then who cares that I busted my butt in front of lots of people? What does it matter that I walked around an entire day with my shirt inside-out or toilet paper stuck to the back of my shoe? Who cares that I drove around all day with my dress hanging out of the car door and then proceeded to work with a black mark across my butt? Is it really so bad that I went out to dinner with a stick in my hair, because I was playing outside with The Younger Boy? (Good Lord, I really am a mess!)
None of those things are really important. I need to learn that. I need to quit worrying so much about what others think. I really need to be less self involved. So, for the sake of spiritual growth, here goes:
Litany of Humility
O Jesus! Meek and humble of heart, hear me
From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.