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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

On humility, or lack thereof

I had a humbling day.

This morning I rode my bike as usual to the hospital, after doing speech therapy with Jack at school.  As I was riding through the most congested part of Nyahuka, the point where a culvert runs under the road so there are drop-offs on both sides, right in front of the “taxi park” where swarms of restless young men hang out on motorcycles and make inappropriate comments . . . I saw that a small pick-up truck was stopped in the middle of the road, facing in my direction so that if it started on we would meet.  I pedaled on and I must confess the pride in my heart.  Yes, my thoughts were something like this: “I see you there and I am not budging off this road so share the space and get out of the way”.  You may be thinking there goes one missionary doctor that needs to be humbled.  And you would be right.  And evidently God would have agreed with you.

Because a second or two later I realized that two men were walking up to the stopped truck, directly intersecting my trajectory forward.  Because of the culvert there is no option of leaving the road, so I began to brake and try and get their attention, still thinking confidently that everyone needed to get out of my way. I lifted my right hand (back brake) to ring my less-than-effective bell.  However I kept squeezing my left hand brake.  Anyone who bikes can imagine what happened next.  My front wheel stopped but I didn’t, and I flipped head over heels right there smack in the middle of everything.  I landed on my back (my pack probably pulled me down that way) with my skirt up to my bleeding knees and my bike slightly twisted but sort of on top of me.  Because of my bike’s position and my stunned shock I could not really move more than to pull my skirt down as far as possible.

The vulnerability of that situation would have been humbling enough.  But here is what happened next:  all those obnoxious young men treated me with respect and care.  No one laughed.  People said “sorry sorry” and ran to lift my bike and help me up.  As I dusted myself off I only met with stares of concern not derision.  I had judged those guys in my heart and was doubly humbled, first by my fall which so appropriately followed the proverbial pride, and then by the kind response I got from people I expected to enjoy my distress.

So if you are praying for me to be more humble you can let up a bit now . . . Sigh.

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