I don’t like the word humble. Makes me think of bowing and scraping or being whittled away to a mere shadow of myself. Whether through belittling self-talk, or the careless speech of others, being humbled depreciates me; I see myself less and less and less. But I think I am using the word humble wrongly. I am throwing it together with humiliate. Being made small seems hopeless, so I have run from walking humbly.
Today I reclaim the word humble; it is valuable to me. To be humble is to respect, not think of myself more highly than my brother nor to think of myself more lowly than him either. It is not to value myself more than others, nor to value them more than myself.
Walking humbly and standing tall do not contradict each other. We are all of equal value. I defer to my sister out of love, not diminishing myself. Both of us express divinity in this world and neither is of higher rank. My kindness and my greatness do not exclude each other.
I do walk in humility with the divine, the great ‘All That Is.’ The divine nature expressed in me, though not different than Spirit, is a small and unique measure of that nature, particular to me. In that sense, I walk with profound respect with the unlimited ‘All That Is.’ Equally, I stand tall, an identical extension of the nature and the goodness of The Divine.
I paraphrase the words of the Shaker hymn:
'Tis a gift to be humble, 'tis a gift to be free…
When true humility is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed;
to stand, turn, will be our delight.
Till by standing, turning we come round right.
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Rev. Neal Worthington is the Minister at Unity of Payson.
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