Humility: Yes and No

Our relationship was always a rocky one, marked by misunderstanding, mistrust, ambiguity, and quarrelsomeness. Other people said we were perfect for each other, a match not only made in, but blessed by heaven itself. But somehow or other, I could never quite relate. Something always seemed “off.” That was pointed out to me as evidence that I reallyneeded this relationship. I went along with it for many years, and then somehow found the courage to simply end the relationship. It was over between Humility and me. Over. Done. I really don’t recall when Humility reappeared in my life. There were occasional contacts, intermittent flirtations, very sporadic at first. Part of it had been that I didn’t like the crowd Humility hung out with—humiliate and humiliation, for example. There were others, too—shame, abase, debase, demean, degrade, belittle, cause to feel small, and some other unsavory characters. When Humility reappeared, though, the cohort had broken up. The Humility I had known was in fact a mean-spirited masquerade, slightly if at all related to true humility. Curious, I ran a background check. I’d had a philosophy professor in grad school who sent us off to the library with a weekly assignment. He gave us each a word, and we were charged with looking up its origins and history in the massive Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. I always enjoyed that assignment, and I’m still fascinated by word origins and how their meanings and usage evolve over time. Humility, as it turns out, has an intriguing
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Change Happens: So How Do We Deal with It?

I admit it: I’m more likely to be bothered by change, or the prospect of change, than to be enthusiastic  about it. It’s instructive that the first version of the preceding sentence read “the threat of change” rather than “the prospect of change.”  ‘Nuf said.  Change makes me uneasy; it tends to ratchet up my anxiety.  Major changes that affect me directly call out the four horsemen of my own little apocalypse: clammy, queasy, sleepless and shaky. Even if it’s “good” change, it’s far easier for me to see the possible risks inherent in it than to whole-heartedly celebrate its promises. Not always, to be sure, but typically. Sometimes, for some of us, change can’t come fast enough. I recall how much my daughter, when she was a middle-schooler and even into high school, disliked her unusual first name (“Hinda,” named after her four-greats grandmother). She let it be known repeatedly that as soon as she was old enough, she was going to court to have it changed. Then she graduated college and got her first job in the public relations field, which would become her lifelong profession. She soon discovered that having a somewhat unusual name, one that people remembered easily, was quite an asset. Those who are dissatisfied with the current administration are eager for the November elections with the possibility of inaugurating a new era in American government. Others, however, are concerned about what such a change might bring. The secular humanists in our own congregation want change, while others
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