A Bucket of Humility
When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom. ~ Proverbs 11:2 (HCS)
It had just been one of those days. I had one nerve left and someone stepped on it. Working in a front office, I was often the starting point for people in search of others or needing assistance; I cheerfully directed strays on their merry way. I thrived on the busy office environment and enjoyed contact with the public…most of the time. This particular morning a series of consecutive work crises, topped by encounters with misfortunate folks, left me irritated and intolerant. Desperately needing a change of scenery, I gladly volunteered to pickup lunch-to-go for both of my bosses at a local fast-food establishment.
I navigated the lunchtime traffic and turned into the parking lot, only to find a van straddling the one remaining parking spot. Hungry, and even more irritated, I squeezed my car into the parking space, hurried to the door and opened it…and held it – as several tall, attractive, able-bodied men clad in military flight suits and leather jackets filed out. Not one of them glanced in my direction or even offered a thank you. Now I was hungry, irritated and not happy.
I got in line to order, stewing in my dissatisfaction. What happened to good old-fashioned manners? And just who were these flight students trying to impress wearing leather flight jackets in the middle of July?
It was at that precise moment that another unfortunate soul crossed my path. Scruffy and loud, he stepped in my personal space bubble and, as he looked in the direction of the flight-suit clad men who were now getting in the van, asked “Wow, do you think they are movie stars?” I didn’t even try to be polite; I rolled my eyes and sharply replied that since we were near a military training base, flight students would patronize the restaurants. I gave the man a quick once over thinking he had watched Top Gun one too many times.
Once back at the office, I disregarded my twinge of guilt at how rude I had been and conveyed, in detail, my lunchtime encounter to the office staff, as well as anyone else who happened by. I elaborated on my misfortunes with the nerds of the world and how the gorgeous men of Hollywood seemed to elude me. I received the desired laughter; I was quite pleased with my comical storytelling ability.
Later that evening, I turned on the television just in time to see the local news spotlight the cast of a new television series filming on location at the military base. The camera panned the location set and there they were: the flyboys from KFC.
Instantly, I felt convicted. I realized that I had been the common denominator in every situation and encounter throughout the day. No matter how irritated I was I did not have the right to be rude. I thought about how I had allowed myself to feel justifiably annoyed at what I thought were dumb questions by dumb people. I cringed when I remembered how blatantly I had ignored the twinge of guilt, all for the sake of a laugh. I reflected about the lunchtime encounter with the man whom I assumed had a star-struck imagination, and how I could have handled things much differently in that restaurant lobby.
I knew for sure that I should have asked for a bucket of humility to-go, because in my quest to be Christ-like, I had failed miserably.