Today, I am afraid of my blog.
Blogging is, by its nature, both a mirror and a temptation. Why? Because in almost every instance, blogging is primarily self-focused. We write about what we see, and feel, and like. While we include interplay about God and children and puppies and the Grand Canyon, it is of our experience about our own world that we write. Blogging subtly centers on me. It is the design of the brute. Think about it. If no one reads our blog, we feel saddened that more people don’t know us. If many people read our posts, we begin to feel like we have significant wisdom and influence. Our value is tethered to the wispy balloon of stats and notifications. If the comments are good, we smile. If they disagree, we want to craft such a witty or wise response that the whole world stills for a moment and looks on admiringly. We write and rewrite. Read and reread. Blogging is a seductress.
Under a cheap mirror-ball, Blogging dresses in clingy spandex and approaches, beguiling me with long eyelashes over a sweet smile. The Most-Popular-One sweeps in to summon me for a dance. My pimpled soul swells with pride as it stares, teenager-like, at the gym floor. Me? Ah, sure. My date, Humility, is in the washroom right now, it seems. I am led away by the hand, trailing undone laces from my both my tennis shoes and my brain.
Perhaps because I am such a wall-flower, God has been teaching me about humility recently. In Hebrew, humility is anawa. In Greek, it is tapeinos. Both mean, “low to the ground.” In my life, I think about it as “to be brought low,”as in “planting your face,” or “crashing and burning.” I am, most reluctantly, being trained to dance by Humility. Like I’m trapped in a clip of The Breakfast Club,one example from a few months ago is caught in the DVR play cycle of my mind. I remember it clearly.
I am walking down the main hall of my church with one of my pastoral teammates. We are coming from a tortuous afternoon meeting, and my low blood sugar is intersecting my mental fatigue. I am stoically mentioning (read, ‘whining about’) how I wish I could sneak a short nap. At that moment, I notice a young family sitting at the other end of the hallway. A father is guarding his toddler’s exploring circle-stagger. And a mother, too, sitting and holding a sleeping infant in her arms. Very picturesque. Currier and Ives stuff, featuring the Madonna and child. I insert myself in the postcard, of course, as the Christmas carols cue. From down the hall, I cry out to the family in a stage whisper, clearly but gently, so as to not wake the sleeping baby. I enunciate every word: “That’s—what—I—need!”
A few steps closer and I can now see the parents’ faces, vividly painted crimson in embarrassment or horror. Only then do I notice that the baby isn’t really napping. Cradled in a large blanket, he is quietly nursing.
Echo: “That’s what I need.” Humility. The feeling of being brought low. Reminiscent of the dark days following the crash of a prehistoric asteroid, my dignity becomes extinct. Picture me for the next few minutes, waist deep in the tar pits, explaining, apologizing, groveling, and dying. An Ice Age dawns. The toddler, now somehow steady and stalking, circles me like a saber-tooth tiger on a dodo bird. And the baby keeps on, well, eating, but to my ears there is now an accusing sound. As if to say, “Mine!” I remember thinking, “So sad. I really loved being a Pastor here.” Finally, the young father speaks, thankfully with a grin and a twinkle, “We’re fine, Pastor Brad. We think it’s funny. Now just walk away. Please.” Humility.
Life is not really about me. God has a perfect sense of humor and a dedicated command of his purposes for me. Humility is your date, Brad. Are you counting blog hits again? God presses the mic button. Run the nursing baby clip again, Gabriel.