The Road to Humility

The Bible, in 1 Peter 5:5, says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. At first reading this is very encouraging verse! I mean, who doesn’t want God’s grace? The problem is that the road to humility is marked by humbling experiences. The trick is to let those humbling events become humorous events. So, in the spirit of humor, here are three (so far) humorous events that God has used to keep me humble.

Dinner and a Disaster

Let’s begin with the most recent. A mere two days before this writing Clark and Maureen asked if Kellie and I wanted to grab dinner with them. The plan was to take the jet skis, put in near downtown Chattanooga and ride up the river to a restaurant about half an hour away.

We thought this sounded great so we headed off down the river. The ride there was nothing short of gorgeous. The early evening sun covered the water, hills and downtown area with a light that’s hard to capture. It was absolutely beautiful.

Dinner was no downer either. We ate great food out on the deck of the restaurant, overlooking the river. The food and fellowship was great.

Then dinner ended and here’s where the story gets frustrating funny. I need to set the stage a bit more in order for you to see how perfect God’s timing is. Everyone else in the restaurant had arrived in their cars. By the time we left there were two decks worth of people who had used the roads to get to where they were going; we had used the river and that made us cool. I was looking forward to throwing on my lifejacket, hopping onto the jet ski with my babe of a wife and riding off into the distance. Meanwhile, everyone else had to drive home, just like the guy next to them. How cool was I?

Well, when we got to the jet skis everything went according to my daydream until Kellie and I got on and waited for Clark and Maureen to get ready too. For some reason we could not keep our balance on the crazy thing. With every correction we tried to make the jet ski became more and more unstable. Finally, after much struggle, one tip tossed me right off. In front of the restaurant. And my wife managed to stay on.

It turns out that we had forgotten to put in the jet ski’s plugs and, as a result, it had taken on water during dinner. This in turn lowered its center of gravity and made it more prone to tipping. A handy piece of information to have. Try using that one before you use your water toys.

Since the jet ski had taken on so much water it wouldn’t start so Clark and I had to pull it onto a slope where we could let it drain. For the next 10 to 15 minutes we bailed out our ailing transport, every second of it in front of the very people I had expected to show off to.

Ah, the road to humility.

Boy Meets Girl, Girl Beats Boy

Another stretch on the road to humility was found on the lake just east of us. During the summer we have been able to go to the lake a few times. One of my favorite things to do on the water is wakeboard. I’m really not that good but I’m progressing.

One day I felt like I was making progress and was throwing down some of my sickest moves. (The kids these days can use the word “sick” to mean “cool”, “impressive”, or “awesome”.) I was really having fun.

It wasn’t too much longer before another boat came cruising around the corner pulling a fellow wakeboarder. This fellow wake enthusiast happened to be doing the same things I had been doing but bigger and better with no apparent effort. This fellow wakeboarder happened to be a girl. Wouldn’t you know it that her jumps and grabs took place as she went from one wake to the other. Mine had taken place about 6 inches off the water. Suddenly my tricks didn’t look the new sick, they just looked plain old sick.

Ah, the road to humility.

Tread Carefully Treadmill

(Note: This story has been told before but because the old edition got erased and because it fits so well with the other two stories it’s here again.)

The final (for now) story of humiliation took place at the YMCA. Kellie and I joined our local YMCA in order to work out and hopefully stay in shape. When we lived in Corvallis we took care of this by running. Three or four days a week we would get up early and run with friends before work.

In Cleveland the idea of cars, bikes and pedestrians sharing the road is a foreign one. This was one of the factors that lead us to join the YMCA and to use their equipment.

Before we had gotten familiar with their facilities Kellie and I stopped by just to try stuff out. After using the weights we decided to get a bit of a cardio workout in as well. Kellie jumped on an elliptical machine and I jumped onto a treadmill. That’s where I went wrong.

(Before I go on I must say that one of the advantages to road running is that when you stop the road does as well. Such is not the case with a treadmill. A treadmill requires you to press a very specific button in order to make it stop. Sorry to interrupt.)

Well, as I approached the end of my run I picked out which of three buttons labeled “Stop” that I was going to press. Reaching out I pressed the button and stopped. Counting my calories, that is. The treadmill, however, continued on its merry way.

In my mind I was expecting the machine to slow down and then stop. When it failed to do so I lost my balance and was promptly thrown off the still speeding treadmill. Unfortunately I had enough momentum that I continued to roll onto the machine next to mine. Thankfully that machine was empty. The one next to it wasn’t and as my tumble continued that treadmill also threw me off.

Finally I came to a stop, curled up in the fetal position, wedged between a treadmill and the wall. I don’t think there was a person in the entire gym who didn’t hear my crash and I know what they were thinking—the same thing I would have thought, “Oh my goodness. That poor sap. I’m sure glad that wasn’t me. I can’t believe that actually happened!”

Ah, the road to humility.

The Journey Continues

So, the stories continue to come. And they always will. Everyone has goofy things happen to them. Like I said before, the trick is to learn your lesson, be humble and laugh. Even as I write out these three experiences I have to resist the urge to grit my teeth and to allow a smile to ease the tension. Ah, the road to humility.