Recovering from the Crowd just to Celebrate
My house was quite warm last night as 23 (I forgot to count someone) people were stuffed into our house for a grand Thanksgiving dinner. I opened some windows for a bit of fresh air. My nephew’s step-daughter played the fiddle and my grand-niece sang a song or two. They are like 7 and 8 years old and are like sisters. Both love an audience and we were happy to provide one for them. Food and company were great and all had a grand old time. My goodness, I am so glad that is over.
Today is a very special day. 26 years ago today Susan and I got married. I was then, and I am now, completely under the spell of this woman. My father often said that Susan was the best thing that ever happened to me but he was wrong,,,Best is hardly enough to accommodate the effect of this relationship on me. Language is sometimes far too limiting to make sense of the world we live in so I’ll just bask in the sunshine that Susan brings to my life.
This is also day three of my final preparation for surgery. Clearly, the switch from my normal NSAID to acetaminophen is taking a toll on me. My newly replaced knee is tightening up and appears to be a bit more swollen than usual. My back aches and I find myself stooping a bit, shoulders sloped inward and head leaning down. The only upside of this preparation is that I won’t bleed to death during surgery. Well, that’s not quite true. There is another amazing benefit; the gift of humility that may arrive under stress.
Humility begins when one concludes that they are not the center of the universe, that they are not THAT important, that everyone and everything doesn’t revolve around them. It is a practice that recognizes the exteriority of others and embraces the differences that others bring to the table. Humility requires one to place the other person’s needs before one’s own needs. It is interesting that adversity, such as pain or stress, often is the trigger for either a self-centered rant against the universe or is the boundary between ego and humility, the setting aside of ego in lieu of the other. Humility is a gift presented unexpectedly requiring no reciprocation and it comes with absolutely no fine print or strings attached. Humility is the place of responsibility for the other. In a very practical sense, it takes one’s mind off of the stress and pain, thereby minimizing the need to complain. Humility arrives when one makes the decision to let go of the self, to become available and act on the decision. It is a true gift because it cannot be reciprocated or returned. It may be put on the shelf for a while but once attained it is always within one’s grasp.