Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Who's that knocking?

Tap, tap, tap...

In the middle of an overcrowded school gymnasium, with five of my six children nearly indistinguishable from the throngs of like-minded, donut propelled mini-shoppers; a tiny-but powerful-voice beckoned me, "Mommmmm!!!" "Just a minute!" I called over my shoulder, without looking up.

Then, nearly a whole TEN seconds later--

Tap, tap, tap...

"I said, 'Just a minute!'" I called out over the din of the junior high marketplace, which was now in full swing. The room was swimming with crazed children, clutching lengths of tickets as long as themselves, hopeful that there would be one last Popsicle-stick wishing well before inventory ran out. Trying to hear myself think, I took a deep breath, and was aiming to formulate a battle plan when, much to my chagrin, I again felt--

Tap, Tap, Tappity-tap!!!

With eyes blazing and completely devoid of grace, I spun around and barked, "WHAT?" at the face attached to the hand behind me. The face, I suddenly realized, that was not one of my children (who had all scattered like rats at that point), but another mother from the school, who looked at me wide-eyed and said, "Hi. Umm. We met before and I, well, I just wanted to say hi."

Embarrassed beyond all belief, I apologized for my behavior and explained that I don't normally greet people so rudely--even those I don't know. Fortunately for me, she had done that mile in my moccasins before and graciously accepted my apology. As we parted, I scanned the room for my kids. Olive branch in hand, I located them and we kissed and made-up, literally.

Out of my embarrassment, however, came a valuable lesson in humility. Would I have been so quick to ask forgiveness of my children had I not spoken so callously to another adult? The answer is not one I'd like to share, but I bet you can guess. The path to humility, as I am painfully learning, is paved with awkward situations such as these; but, through them, God seeks to awaken my humble spirit asleep inside.

If we were humble, nothing would change us-neither praise nor discouragement.

If someone were to criticize us, we would not feel discouraged.

If someone were to praise us, we would not feel proud.

-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


Life in Fitzville said...

A beautiful lesson, but the story still had me cracking up!

Anne said...

I just came in from going to not one, but two grocery stores...with 3 kids in tow. I won't elaborate on my tone by the end, but your story has made me really think how I can improve in this area. Would I have spoken to other children or an adult with that tone? You and I know the answer to that questions.

Thanks for sharing your humility journey. Remember, humility is built with humiliation!