I sat very still watching her face, hearing her words. You know, there is a difference between listening and really “getting it.” My mind began slipping back, back to certain people in my life who have made lasting impressions on the way I want to live. Using Jesus as the No. 1 example of living with humility even when it cost him his life, certain faces began criss-crossing my brain and every one of these people lived in humility.
There was my father, my daddy. He grew up dirt poor in the deep South and by dirt poor, I mean their house in which he and his family lived literally had a dirt floor. Yet, in spite of such hard conditions, he grew to be a man who always helped others. Once he held a steady job, he not only replaced their dirt floor to one of wood and, to please his mother, he had an indoor bathroom built.
When I graduated from Washington University, my daddy, through real tears, told me how proud he was of me because I was the first person in the family ever to graduate college. It meant the world to me.
Then I saw my mother's beautiful face and remembered that, at a time when very few females even went to college, she went and finished with honors while working long hours in her dad’s drugstore for no pay because his health was failing.
Right on the heels of the memory of Mother came Dr. James W. Clarke, my friend and long-time pastor. When he was in his 70s, he came face to face with a robber who'd broken into his study. Being interrupted, he fled the church with Dr. Clark right behind him, but not to beat him up or shoot him. He wanted to know why he needed money so badly and how the church could help. I found this true story amazing because Dr. Clarke was humble and wanted to help this young man, not punish him. By the way, Dr. Clarke is the godfather and namesake of my son Clarke.
The faces came faster. I saw a man sitting at the counter of a diner. He wore a beautiful new sweater. In walked another man who sat on the stool next to him. This man was so cold he was shaking, pulling his worn shirt closer to his body. The first man, noticing this, ordered him a cup of hot coffee and as I watched, he slipped his beautiful cashmere sweater over his head and helped the shivering street person pull it over his frail shoulders. Not a word was spoken. The first man was my husband Gene, the sweater was my Christmas gift to him, just weeks earlier. Humility.
More faces passed before me as Becca began the Communion service. Theresa quietly played the hymn “Were You There?” The verses asked the question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Jesus could have easily saved himself from such a horrible death, but He didn't. The King of Kings died showing us what living and then dying humbly looked like. Just singing those words absolutely took my breath away. On the second line it reads, “Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.” I found it impossible to sing. I stood next to Gene, reading these words in my own silence. I listened as everyone in that room struggled emotionally. We trembled.
I trembled in a moment I will never forget. Finally, I get it.
The view from the mountains is wondrous.