Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Black & White Wednesdays ~ Humility


I'll never forget the first moment when my perspective shifted. That moment when I first knew, as a young teenager that I was NOT, in fact, the center of the universe. I was standing along side some temple ruins on a hilltop in Greece, looking out at the most spectacular vista I had ever witnessed. And I knew in an instant that I was little more than dust in the wind. The odd thing about the shift was that this understanding of how infinitesimally small I was compared to the expanse of all space and time, filled me NOT with a sense of INsignificance, but with a sense of purpose. Of destiny. And of importance.

As I look back on my life since that moment, it is the things that renew this humility deep inside of me that also fill me with the most gratitude. Having had the chance to live over seas, to make my home in a 'foreign' land, is one such experience. It's not the simple, day to day "humiliations" that made this journey such a rich one...though there are plenty of those when you choose to live life while speaking a foreign language in a far off land. No. It is the lesson I learned repeatedly while in Europe: there's no one right way. We have a tendency, perhaps especially as Americans, to think that what is familiar, or what works for us, is the best solution for everyone. It is truly awe-inspiring to learn about other cultures and come to understand a frame of reference that is alien to our own....to come to believe - not just intellectually, but also viscerally - that there are many answers to some of life's most basic questions. And that learning from one another will only ever serve to better us all.

Parenting had, and continues to have, the same effect on my soul. What an irrational honor and responsibility to have the lives of little humans placed into our hands. Just looking into my children's eyes can bring me back, metaphorically speaking, to that hillside in Greece. How has this miracle landed in my path? How will I ever manage, unschooled and ill-equipped as I am, to guide their journey? Faced with this task I have felt so marvelously insignificant and so wonderfully vital. Simultaneously. What a humbling journey we share, this parenthood journey. May we genuinely share this journey, and find strength along the way as we learn from each other.

When I came across this photo of my two little ones at the very bottom of the giant Eiffel Tower, it seemed to capture this feeling of being infinitesimally small, and yet profoundly significant at the same time. Look at their joy. The innocence and capriciousness. They are care-free and unaware of the greatness above them. They explored, discovered and gave themselves wholly to the moment in front of them, only later coming to understand the significance of this early part of their journey.

Thank you, mountain top in Greece. Thank you, Paris. Thank you, my darling children. Thank you for giving me a delicious taste of this dish known as humility. I am always hungry for more.


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23 comments:

  1. Such a sweet moment captured. And I like the perspective of this shot too-how little they are compared to how large the base is.

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  2. Great . . thanks for this interesting post !
    ♥ly greetings

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  3. ugh Adrienne your words are so beautiful and poignant. in South Africa we have a phrase that captures a lot of what you wrote about: 'Ubuntu'. it roughly means, we are human through other humans... maybe google it- there are definitely people who will more eloquent at explaining it than me.

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  4. I love this post. It is so true that living in a different country and being parents gives us a different perspective of our selves. Both experiences, in a way, "break" us from our own importance, yet make us grow so much.

    Perfect photo for this post!

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  5. Oh yes, I love your post!! And I love every opportunity that open my eyes for a new angle of life - every day.

    and yes, your lovely image fits perfect!!

    Have a happy wednesday.

    xo, isabella

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  6. A beautiful b&w photo!
    My post at: https://hanshb.wordpress.com/

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  7. A privilege to recognize that especially in your teen years. I suspect I may have had shades of humility and perspective as a teen and young adult, but as I encourage my children to take sips and gulps at the same time as they tackle this thing called life, I realize that for all the insight, maturity, and humility I thought I had, they were but mere scratches on the surface. I have found hindsight to be both my friend and foe as I recollect the course I have taken along its path. I can only hope that from my experiences I can keep myself open to embrace new perspectives and do so with some humility.

    Beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated in the picture of your children.

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  8. You are brilliant! Your photography, insights, words...you NEED to write a book!

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  9. It's humbling to wake up each day in this great city of Paris, and indeed more true that as a foreigner it doesn't come without painful humiliations. And truer still that our journey is made richer through these experiences in strange lands and awkward roles. I love your perspective and sense of gratitude for it all...

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  10. We all need these lessons in humility and to realize that we are very small and immensely large at the same time. Thanks for this perspective!

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  11. A most gracious, heartfelt post. Such a fitting photo to compliment it even more.

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  12. such love and wisdom coming through in your words. Beautifully done!

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  13. such love and wisdom coming through in your words. Beautifully done!

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  14. I feel small when standing on a beach looking out over the ocean. I love the feeling of knowing how small I am and how small my part of the overall story truly is. But it still inspires me to use the smallness for great things. I love your words shared here.

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  15. Such a great post... especially the part there is no one way... agh, Ill be thinking on this post for a while.

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  16. Thank you, Adrienne, for this beautiful essay and the touching photograph!

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  17. Sorry for posting twice. The first link was wrong, unfortunately.

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  18. Really lovely. I don't know that I really ever had a moment like that. Perhaps it was the opposite. Perhaps I more often than not felt insignificant and later found my fleeting moments of significance? Guess there's no right way through this journey :)

    So so cute, your two. I just marvel at these reflections...such a wonderful experience you had.

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  19. Very mature and insightful post and magnificent photo!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  20. I am so waiting for that moment right now with my 16 year old. I hope it comes soon.

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  21. Lovely post! My, the children look small!

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  22. Very touching post. Beautifully written!

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  23. You put into words so beautifully what I feel in my relationship with God. What a gift you have.

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