“Monk Habits For Everyday People” by Dennis L. Okholm is one of those books that has rocked my world, and verily continues to rock my world, alleluia, amen.
Get ye down.
The summary of one of the Benedictine vows did mess with my head a bit when I first read that book…
And by “mess with my head,” I of course mean, “pulled out my brain, put it into a blender, set it for ‘churn, mangle, and generally splatter,’ and dump it back into my head.”
But, of course, you knew that’s what I meant. Didn’t you?
Of course you did.
The summary phrase for the vow of humility kind of goes like this, knowing full well that I’m probably remembering the spirit of the quote, and not the actual thing… Which is why when I refer to something, you can pretty much rest assured that I took it, put it into a blender, set it for “churn, mangle, and generally splatter,” and served it up on this here blog.
And, of course, you knew I did that sort of thing. Didn’t you?
Of course you did.
So, in a nutshell, the vow of humility says…
“I am not unique.”
Some folks read that and immediately get their hackles up… Visions of “Fearfully and wonderfully made” dance through their heads, mantras of “You’re something special, you’re the only one of your kind” spring to their lips, and all they’ve ever been told about their own uniqueness and awesomeosity wraps around their psyche like feel-good armor.
“CIRCLE THE WAGONS!!”
That has nothing to do with it, by the way – I sometimes blurt out random phrases that I wish I had a place to use, but don’t. Alas.
Other folks, who’ve been waiting patiently through the previous babble and rambling for their moment in the sun, respond, “Darn tootin’. You’re just like the rest of us, Bucko – no better. So get off yer high-falootin’ pedestal and come down where us regular folks live. Yee haw!”
I have no idea why I tend to hear that voice in Yosemite Sam Speak… Maybe it was Foghorn Leghorn. Hmmm… Nope. Definitely Yosemite Sam.
As one of my favorite pictures from Facebook says, “I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.”
Ha ha hee hee ho ho *snort* woo! *sigh*
I crack me up sometimes…
So, my take on the vow? How do I internalize that phrase? Kinda like this…
I am not unique.
– I am blessed, as is everyone else, equally.
– I am amazingly gifted, as is everyone else, equally.
– I am a recipient of such boundless grace that I can’t describe it, as is everyone else, equally.
– I am broken, fallen, and have depths of darkness within me so deep that they horrify me, as does everyone else, equally.
– I am redeemed, set free by Christ and made new, as is anyone who accepts the life He freely gives.
I am a mixture of dark and light, of brilliance and despair, of joy and sadness. I have been blessed in a tremendous way, a very visual picture of how God’s hand pours blessings abundantly to all of us, and I am also broken, unworthy of such boundless grace and mercy.
As are you. As are we all.
Look around, because the light and dark you see in yourself is the light and dark everyone sees in themselves. Know that in your giftedness, you are not alone. And know that in your brokenness, you are not alone.
When you are tempted to look down on someone else, consciously or unconsciously placing yourself above them, stop, pause, and remember… I am not unique.
When you are tempted to see others as so much better than you, that they have it all together, are gifted so much more, or have so many less issues than you do, stop, pause, and remember… I am not unique.
I am as gifted as anyone else. They are as gifted as I am, all made by a creative Father who loves His kids.
I am as broken as anyone else. They are as broken as I am, all cared about by a Redeemer who loves His kids.
I am not unique.