How are you? I'm tired, but fine. And before I take myself off to my bed I'd thought to tell you about my personal take on humility.
Humility is the quality of not thinking that you are better than other people.
If there's one thing that makes me feel humble, it is the force of nature. Ever since I witnessed a lightning strike in my back garden which plunged the entire street into darkness, blew a hole in the roof and melted my fusebox, I am in awe of thunder&lightning. And living 4 m. below sea level also makes a person aware of what water can do. I'd say this is humbling...
2. This last year at work.
Having been a popular teacher at one school, and then losing this job through cutbacks and having to start afresh at a totally different inner-city school with totally different (often deprived) youngsters, has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. But I am happy to say I can hum along with Elton John: "I'm Still Standing".
3. My next-door neighbour.
He was already living there when we moved in, in 1994. He's had polio as a child, I believe. He was still able to cycle on a normal bicycle in 1994. Since then, we have seen his movements steadily deteriorate. Normal bike, three-wheel bike, motor wheelchair. He lives on a small state allowance and does janitor work at a primary school, which means he takes the 6 o'clock bus every day. What humbles me is that he never complains. And he is always cheerful!
4. An example of Greek hospitality.
When I was 22, I travelled around Greece by train. It was high summer, and blazingly hot. I took care to always have a liter bottle of water with me, but at some stage on the way to Kalamata my water ran out and there was no opportunity to buy new. That evening my friend and me wearily and thirstily walked along a dirt road on the way to a campsite, when we passed a hovel. No other word for it. Outside this falling down house there was a pump, and at the pump a very old woman was washing herself. We ogled the water, and she noticed this, and waved at us (this Greek wave is funny, for it appears that they are shooing you away, when they actually wave you to approach). So we walked to her, and with sign language asked permission to fill our bottle. Before we knew it we were dragged into her kitchen, where she sat us down and shared her evening meal with us. And then sent us on our way with a sack full of lemons, cucumbers and figs. I fell in love with Greece there and then, and have returned to this country many times since.
Pain is the great equaliser. When I was pregnant with my son, 22 years ago, I had necrosis in my womb, and it was stunningly painful. I spent 7 months in hospital and only barely made it out alive.
I felt very, very humble there, especially at night when everyone else was asleep and I was at the mercy of the night nurses (who were very kind, most of them!).
Humility, in my eyes, is one of THE best and important qualities to have as a human being.
I do so hate a braggart.