19 December 2008

In The Event of My Humility

humility (hyū-mĭl'ĭ-tē) n (14c): the quality or state of being humble

My father often told me that I must have one hardest damned heads on the face of the Earth. As big and lumpy as the Gumbo cranium is (as my blessed mother can attest), you would think it was made out of solid bone or wood. Density is a drawback when one is expected to absorb “life lessons”, or even just common sense lessons. Like not driving a motorcycle into a woodpile or trying to cover up beer breath with a heapin’ helping of mustard straight up (both true). As George Carlin summed it up, “Don’t get run over by a bus! Some people need practical advice.”

Up to about five years ago, I strongly believed in two major fallacies: that I was in control of my reality, and that trusting humanity was a zero-sum game because people always let you down. “People make you mean” I once heard someone say, and I certainly felt that way. All I had to do was turn on the news to be supported in my smugness. However, even the most bloody-minded, stubborn smart aleck EVENTUALLY learns something in the course of a lifetime. Sometimes it just takes an awful long time for those lessons to sink in, to become internalized. In my case, the internalization often manifests itself in the form of a revelation. The flash goes off, the bell goes DING! that cosmic finger plucks me on the back of the head bone. No wonder my head feels so lumpy!

The cosmic finger plucked me hard in the aftermath of the premature birth and deaths of my first two kids back in 2003. The amazing amount of support and empathy and sheer kindnesses done for my wife and I in the NICU, at home, and at work, truly staggered me. People were just so nice and caring and they really kept me going when I thought I was going to collapse under the weight of stress and grief. I had to revise my jaundiced opinion of humanity in general. This series of events nearly destroyed the shell I had built around my heart.

The cosmic finger also works in less dramatic ways. Less dramatic, no less important. Call it a ‘brush of the fingertip’, an elbow tap to the ribcage, a reminder to open up and let good people in. I received such a brush after yesterday’s post. The comments I received were truly amazing and heartwarming. A cynic like me didn’t stand a chance. What few shards left around my heart were effectively swept away. Good vibes like that deserve to be shared, so if you haven’t already visited with these fine folks, drop some comment luv on them:

Mama Dawg at
Two Dogs Running
Rebekah at Waffles, Waffles All Day Long
Krystal at Mommy’s Escape 6.0
Heather Kathleen at a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous!
Goodfather at GoodFatherBlog.com
ChurchPunkMom at Embellished Truth and Polite Fiction
Comedy Goddess at You have to be a Comedy Goddess to endure
IB at Idiot’s Stew
Charmaine at Middle Aged Dating
Vodka Mom at I Need A Martini Mom
Ryan at Pacing The Panic Room
Captain Dumbass at Us and Them
Henry the Dog at Henry The Dog Diaries
cIII at The Goat and Tater
Jen at Sprite’s Keeper
Rick at Organized Doodles
SSP at Smarty Pants Rants
Ashley at Beck and Hunt
Shonda at The Cowboy Chronicles

There are none so blind as them that would not see. Thank you, thank you, for helping me see.


  1. Hmmm. You become more interesting each time I visit you.

    What a nice man you are.

    My kid sister had several miscarriages. I was irritated when she did not immediatly advice me of her third pregnancy.

    I had no idea, still don't, of the pain a parent must feel.

    But the truth is, I do. But it's nothing like the real thang. Once, I just THOUGHT I was pregnant.

    I told everyone I met, despite the horrendous fact that I was not married. But, I fell in love with this little baby I THOUGHT was with me. I couldn't stop talking about it. (Very bad if you're an Irish Catholic).

    When I found out it wasn't true, despite the humilation I would have endured...I sobbed the kind of tears I have never sobbed since.

  2. I'm not really sure what cockles are or why my heart has some, but I DO know what just warmed them right up, IG. You. Tanks!

  3. My goodness Irish... you've had your share of the troubles. That you are standing at all is a testament to the enduring human spirit. I'm very sorry for your losses. And I'm astounded by your resilience. Keep writing... you have a gift.

  4. Thanks, IG. I'm a bit of a techno-idiot. How do I "pick-up" my award?


  5. Sharing the heaviness in one's heart does wonders for easing the burden and restoring faith in human kindness, doesn't it?

    I'm honored to be included in your list, thank you. :)

  6. Man, you are something else. SOMETHING ELSE. I am very honored, as well, to be included in such company. More importantly, it is so great to be mentioned in your blog.

    Your post was incredible. I had two miscarriages, lost both parents, a nephew, etc. We all carry our grief around in different ways. However, it really is what lies within us that makes us the people we are. You seem to have kicked grief's ass. Your kids would be proud. (As I'm sure they are....from whereever they are...)

  7. mamma mia, I am also astounded to be on your list, so thank you (I am also technically challenged and don't know how to pick it up, but my heart is overflowing that you gave it to me!!)

    I missed the boat on the kiddie cruise, so I don't know the personal, to the marrow connection you all must feel, but I have a good imagination and I know truth when I hear/see it, and you are so achingly wide open and honest....

  8. The world of blogging gets us all to open our hearts and connect with each other. Through whatever grace is guiding us, I have gotten to know some amazingly sincere and gifted people! It's a true healing on many levels. I am honored to receive your award. xo and Thank you.

  9. 'We're not so different, you and me.' 'There! You see, I did say that.'

    -Dr. Evil, Goldmember

    I've never written about my circumstances in 2003, and how my jaundiced opinion of the Human Race was irrevocably changed. But though my story is different, the effect was the same for my cynical heart.

    Thanks so much for the link and the award! I'm posting it tonight before my power goes out. Which it will. Big storm coming, heheh.

  10. I have been content just to laugh along at your comments on several of the blogs I follow, but today I decided to click over and see what you had to say. I have just spent the last hour reading and your writing is beautiful and touching and funny, and I am definitly your newest biggest fan : )

  11. I simply cannot read black sites anymore...sorry :(

  12. Oh, my. Aren't you just the sweeting thang?!?!?!?

    Getting entirely selfish here, I'm so glad that something I said actually made someone else feel good. That warms MY heart.

  13. Thank you so much for the recognition which is not necessary and for the award which is much appreciated. I have posted it and like I e-mailed you before will have it dispalyed proudly.

    We are going through tough times you and I as well as many of our other bloggy wolrd friends but we will make it through. It is good friends and life and love that will help see us through!



"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...