Heroic Humility

…It is not humility to insist on being someone that you are not.  It is as much as saying that you know better than God who you are and who you ought to be.  How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another person’s city?  How do you expect to reach your own perfection by leading somebody else’s life?…And so it takes heroic humilty to be yourself and to be nobody but the person that God intended you to be.

Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk  New Seeds of Contemplation

I just spent an hour or so with a beautiful woman.  She is 88 years of age, she was proud to tell me, and she is lit of eye and facile of mind and grateful of heart.  I want to be like her when I grow up.

One of the gifts of the work I do (I’m a UM Pastor) is the blessing of encountering the Holy in those I call kin through church.  I am present to the beauty of so many, and I wonder how it is that holiness speaks and lives with such stunning variety.

Midlife is a graced time.  After decades of trying to be for others:  parents, kindreds, community and church, I believe that it is time to do the work for which I am uniquely called:  living as myself, as the person God intended me to be.

Discerning who that self is is the work of these days.  I continue the vocations of pastor and mother, wife and friend, and I add to that the befriending of the uniqueness that is me.

And this, Merton would have me to know, is heroic humility.  No cape needed.  Just a heart willing to listen and open.  I like it.





1 thought on “Heroic Humility

  1. “Heroic humility” – what a beautiful concept…..I like what you said about befriending your own uniqueness. In my own life that has been a tough one to do, but I’m learning (slowly) that gentleness to one’s self is the only way to get at the soft spot of the heart so that we can be gentle to others….and as you put, see the holy in others as well.

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