“There is something in humility which strangely exalts the heart.”

— Saint Augustine

Humility, according to the dictionary, humility is having a modest opinion of one’s own importance.  I suppose this could be said to be the absence of arrogance or egocentric thinking.  It does not mean thinking less of oneself than what is true; but it does mean maintaining perspective about the fact that none of us is the most important cog in the machine of the universe.  Each of us plays a role — an important role — that we are designed to perform; but unless we develop humility, we never will truly understand our own importance.

Often, when we see someone who has discovered the true importance of the humble contribution she brings to the world, when we see the selfless acts that this knowing creates, we say, “she must be out of her mind!”

Perhaps this is true.  Perhaps learning humility does more than simply show us how small our contribution might be.  Perhaps it is through going out of our mind and leaving our ego’s need for special recognition behind that we truly understand the exaltation of knowing that our work, however small, is of great importance.

Humility is sometimes seen as weakness.  It is often confused with self-effacing behavior, with submissiveness to another person’s ego-based agenda, with allowing ourselves to be less than we really are.  The truth is that humility is the key that opens the door to a deeper sort of awareness — the kind that exalts the heart.  When we know and understand both our insignificance and our importance in the big picture we call Creation, then we can find fulfillment and exaltation simply in knowing that our tiny pixel in the infinite picture will be filled with all we can be.  It is humility that allows us to rise far enough above the trivial to discover the beauty we contribute simply by being who we are meant to be.  And that, my friend, exalts the heart.