Over the last four weeks one word that continues to resinate with me is humility. I am learning how humble my father was at work and about his work. He never boasted about it. He never flat out said he was the best at what he did. He just worked everyday and did the best he could. Now that I am in his position… meeting with different subcontractors and actually taking the time to make sure trim is painted well and cabinets are set right… well, I’ve begun to realize how he was great at what he did, yet he never bragged about it at all.
For me… well for me this speaks differently to my insecurities. I struggle with being insecure and because of it, I like to be right all the time. I like to have the answer and show people I have the answer. And I feel intimidated when I don’t know, or when I can’t wave myself in someone’s face. In some crazy way… I feel better when I have attention. But then I look at my dad. He never had attention or asked for it. And yes, it may have hurt him to not have had attention… he learned to adopt a mindset and lifestyle of humility.
The other day my mom was talking to my uncle on the phone and he told her my dad was truly skilled at lining out a roof. He told her my father could’ve started his own business teaching framers and other builders how to line a roof up. I never knew this about my dad at all. Since I can remember he’s been scaling roofs while framing homes (of course he loved to drag Bridge and I up with him)… but I never realized he was that talented at it. He never told me.
And it makes me wonder… Was he that confident in his skills, gifts and talents that he didn’t have to share it with us? Or was he insecure so he didn’t think much of himself? Maybe he was just humble and that led him to not think much of himself… I don’t know. But if you are confident in your skills and gifts… so confident, doesn’t that mean your work speaks for you? Like it has a voice of it’s own through the work that you’re doing? And shouldn’t that mean that all the praise received by others is accepted, but doesn’t build and become a sense of security?
If so, I hope to be like my dad one day. I hope that I can become confident enough in whatever I am good at to accept the appraisal of people and then look back and find my security and identity. I hope I can become humble enough to learn from everything around me too. I see that in my father. He was willing to learn from the subs on the job because he wanted the house to truly be a masterpiece. From time to time, he would tell me, “Amanda look what so and so taught me. This is going to make the house better. This is going to help.” He cared that much about his work and craft. It was like his third child. Even some of the subs say he would show up at the houses and just sit and think… think about what he wanted to do in the master bedroom… or how he wanted to finish out the kitchen ceiling.
It’s really incredible to me… to know and see that I lived so closely to someone so wonderful. But I didn’t realize how wonderful he was at all. I didn’t see it. It was hidden from me. Yes, my dad was one of my best friends and we were close… but I didn’t see who he was to the group of people he surrounded himself with. In so many ways he was a leader. A quite leader that others followed… and my father never asked to be followed. He just moved forward on his own, making his own unusual path.
Because ministry is such a strong part of my life, I’ve always been told my dad didn’t take over my grandmothers ministry. I was told he didn’t want it… He didn’t want to be a leader… He wasn’t strong enough to lead… He wasn’t a leader in the church, so he wasn’t a strong spiritual leader. But now… now that I look at his life, well… I see that he was just fine where he was. He was just fine learning, growing and cultivating gifts within his passion and love for homes. He was fine walking around in sweats and a t-shirt, blending in with everyone else. Because he was a humble leader. He didn’t need anything more or less.
And to me… well to be this is beautiful because it teaches me a powerful lesson about humility. I’ve asked myself for years, “what is humility?” I’ve read books, studied papers and even had someone point out my flaws that were the opposite of humility. But now, now I see it very clearly. I’ve been living with it for 25 years. And… if I can truly figure it out… well I think I can make my life a humble one.