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  • janetmchenry

Elusive Humility

I was having such a great time with friends at a book convention. Each day was spent strolling the miles of aisles looking at new book releases, meeting other authors and publishing house folks, and looking at other bookstore products.

Evenings were spent gadding about to fun restaurants. After dinner one night we decided to splurge calorie-wise and go to a chocolate restaurant. Yes, there were endless chocolate desserts and drinks.

I decided on a double whammy: chocolate cheesecake and real hot chocolate that came served with a huge dose of whipped cream. It was delish.

What was not delish was a major gall bladder attack that night. I’d had some troubles before then, but this was so bad I probably should have called 911. The pain was labor equivalent . . . and I’ve had four kids so I know.

A couple hours into extreme pain, my roommate in our hotel suite (a reservation mistake led to a giant suite instead of the cigarette-reeking room we initially had) awoke and saw that I was in extreme pain. That dear woman, my friend Edna, sat with me, prayed for me, brought me cold compresses, and led me through that night. Edna is most lovable, but I truly love her for that sleepless night she gave me.

I think I may have gotten one or two hours of sleep before I had to get dressed to go to the big noontime awards ceremony for the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. I could hardly sit, much less walk or stand.

And when a giant steak and cheesy potatoes were set in front of me, I said, “No thank you, please. I’ll just have a roll.”

I nearly did not make it to the end of the program and thought many times about going back to bed. But it’s a good thing I stuck it out, as I was surprised with the Member of the Year Award.

There’s nothing like a gall bladder attack to keep you humble. (It took the fourth doctor to finally decide I needed immediate surgery, as infection had set in.)

The lows of our lives can keep us humble, can’t they? We make a stupid mistake or say the wrong thing or forget an appointment and berate ourselves endlessly. So when a lovely piece of news comes, we think, I don’t deserve that. I’m an idiot.

Some kind of thorn in the flesh kept Paul humble. I often wonder about that struggle. Was it a literal thorn? Or a metaphorical one? Did he have constant pain over some physical problem? Or was his pain from criticism from the Corinthians, who had started false rumors about him? We’ll never know this side of heaven.

There will always be something that keeps us from hanging out on a pedestal for very long. Our humanity should keep us humble. A taste of our fragility can keep us in check–a good thing, as it keeps us on our knees and #LookingUp.

Janet McHenry will never again eat chocolate cheesecake and hot chocolate at the same time. A speaker, she writes about her mistakes and struggles and how a #LookingUp! perspective is changing her. She would love to hear from you:

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