320. Humility

“Practice humility”, said the Wise Man.

“Why?”, said the Whys Guy.

“Wisdom encompasses humility. Without it you cannot become wise.”

“I guess I was absent the week that lesson was taught.”

“No, you were present. It’s a lesson taught everyday; you’ve just chosen not to learn it.”

“Ouch!! That stings, Wise Man.”

“Antiseptics usually do sting as they cleanse the filth in your wounds. Be grateful for the sting.”

“So, you are saying four things here:  I am wounded. My wounds are filthy. Your truth serum stings as it cleans my wounds. I should be glad of the pain.”


“So why don’t I  feel these wounds instead of just your stinging antiseptic?”

“You have chosen to defend the wounds and guard against any more. Your vigilance makes you numb to the spirit but keen to the flesh.”

“I thought a spirit needed to be vigilant.”

“Your vigil is defensive, actually keeping the spirit outside you. Be vigilant in pursuit of the spirit.”

“I  can see I’m going to lose this debate.”

“You lost it a long time ago, Whys Guy.”

“When was that?”

“The day you mistook cocky for confident, swagger for faith. They are not even close to the same.”

“There’s that sting again. Sigh! So, what do I have to do?”

“Surrender your false pride to find your true worth.”

“Man oh Man!! Just stop being who I am, huh?”

“No, again Whys Guy, you have mistaken who you are for what you do. You have mistaken the actor for the role he plays.”

“I’ve been a smart alex all my life, Wise Man. Jokes, puns, funny stories, impersonations, word play, outrageous booty dances…”

“I know. I’ve seen the act.”

“Oh yeah, you are the Wise Man.”

“The act is not who you are, Whys Guy.”

“This is gonna suck.”

“Sting. It’s the reverse of novacaine. You will need to increase your pain reception and build tolerance.”

“Pain will set me free?”

“Honest suffering will lead to deeper understanding of who you are.”

“So who am I? It seems so silly to be asking this question after forty years of adult life.”

“You are creative and compassionate and funny and connective to your fellow man.”

“Okay, but this isn’t cutting it with my closest loved ones. They know the actor and see the void between me and the act. It hurts to see the sparks and know all that static shock spirals out of my choices.”

“Stay true and humble to the who.”

“That’s like telling the guy without a compass to keep on walking to True North.”

“You have a moral compass for everyone else, don’t you, Whys Guy? You don’t hesitate to judge others and point out where they are wrong. You’ll figure it out.”

“So the beginning of wisdom is shutting up?”

“Yes, a wise man once said… nothing.”

“Let’s see– my life should be blank white space, the polar bear in a blizzard?”

“No. Baring your soul should be a silent, private exercise. Purifying oneself is not sexy or entertaining. It is bloodless surgery of the putrid soul.”

“Amen to all that, Wise Man. Uh, I’m hearing Bob Dylan in the alleyway…”

When the rain is blowin’ in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawlin’ down the avenue
No, there’s nothin’ that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love.

The storms are raging on the rollin’ sea
And on the highway of regrets
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothin’ like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
There’s nothing that I would not do
Go to the ends of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love.

“That’s nice sentiment, Whys Guy, but it amounts to nothing more than an emotional breath mint.”

“Wow, Wise Man, I thought it was powerful and meaty. At least a strong appetizer if not a full meal.”

“It’s all promises, nothing more. Glorious potential sacrifices, nothing more. Don’t you see?”

“I guess so. This is hard.”

“Yes, hard like a diamond. Because it’s so hard, it can be cleft and cut into a hundred brilliant facets. And through each facet God’s light can penetrate and dance prismatically, reflecting His beauty and glory in you, His creation. You must be like that, Whys Guy.”

“I can hardly breathe. I feel like a soggy sponge not a diamond.”

“This is how we’ll know God visited you. Your sponginess will firm up as God squeezes the mess out of you. You were, after all, made in His image and likeness. You sucked up all the nastiness  by traveling your spineless ways along the mucky seabed of sin.”

“Wise Man, you are killing me.”

“Just your stupid pride, Whys Guy. It needs to die at your own hand, though. If I kill your pride, it will only grow back as shame avoidant narcissism. Ten times worse.”

“So I have to stand naked and wash my underwear in the town square fountain at noon?”

“Strangling one’s pride is a private, daily affair. It grows back overnight, you know. The process is more like a daily shower with God’s word washing over you, you know?”

“I don’t know anything, Wise Man.”

“Good. That is the beginning of wisdom.”