I was looking for a link among my internet bookmarks and came across a blog I had once saved the link to but had not looked at in a while: Shirt of Flame. The post at the top was titled “The Litany of Humility.” The blog author, Heather King, shared how her life has ben transformed after “twenty-plus years of prayer, action, and inner work.” She writes
this is how my own world has transformed: I have a lot of opinions but I don’t ALWAYS have to air them. I’m still insanely triggered by petty slights, but I don’t ALWAYS have to let my hurt show. My likes often differ from yours, but I don’t ALWAYS have to point that out, thereby ruining or tainting your likes. I don’t ALWAYS have to be right, I don’t always have to have the last word, I don’t always need to over-apologize, over-thank, or over-explain. You can either find fault with every tiny thing–and trust me, I am a champion fault-finder, I am an expert fly-in-the-ointment seer–or you can say ‘God bless us all’ and move on.
I totally agree with King’s suggestion that behaving in this way requires humility,and she shares in the post a beautiful litany of humility that would be useful for all of us to pray each day.
But it also required mindfulness to refrain from airing opinions, letting the hurt show, pointing out the difference in likes and so on. This may be implicit in King’s description of her ability to do these thing as being a produce of her years of prayer and inner work, but it is worthwhile making the point explicitly.
Absent mindfulness, we rarely make a conscious choice to many of the behaviors she is now able to avoid. Absent mindfulness, we are habituated to air the opinions that pop into our mind, point out where we differ, feel we have to have the last word, etc. Humility is essential, but so is sufficient mindfulness that allows space between action and reaction, between stimulus and response.
Thanks, Susan. It is as if your words are directly meant for me at a time when I really need to hear them. I trust this is true for many others as well.