Long years ago, a young man was popping off to me and my friend about something now long forgotten. The kid was being dogmatic about whatever the subject was, and my friend observed him with patient amusement, and let the fellow go on and on, until he gave up because we weren’t engaging him in argument. He eventually departed in something resembling a huff, and my friend let him get out of earshot and then turned to me with a grin, and said, by way of explanation and liberal indulgence and forgiveness, “He hasn’t been humbled yet.” I thought that was a wise and generous thing to feel, and I added it to my collection of ‘things-to-consider-when-the-time-is-right.”
We remember that Charlotte the spider’s plan to save Wilbur from death was to make him so famous, so celebrated, that the farmer would need to keep Wilbur alive. The first message, spun over Wilbur’s pigpen, was Some Pig, then Terrific, then Radiant, and finally, in the last web message, Humble. And Charlotte, who was very literate, explained to the gathered animals that ‘humble’ mean ‘lacking in status,’ and ‘lacking in pride,’ but also ‘close to the ground,’ which couldn’t help but make everyone love Wilbur even more. Such a clever and kind arachnid! Humility is a good thing, Charlotte knew, it was an ancient and modern virtue. Nobody likes a braggart or pridefulness. We prefer modest, and self-effacing. But not obsequious either. The middle path, so often the best way.
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And please remember to stop by my office to choose your prize from an array of UUCE cashmere scarves!– Rev. Leland