While vacationing on Oahu a few years ago, my husband and I picked up a trail book at Barnes and Noble because we wanted a closer look at the volcanic wild. The book suggested a trailhead in an upscale subdivision that would lead to a range overlooking both Hanauma Bay and Lanikai. So we donned our hiking gear, doused ourselves with bug spray, filled up the water bottles and set off.
The path led to a ridge, where low-growing shrubs provided some security from the steep drop-off on either side. The humidity and altitude kept us cool as we hiked — gazing beyond the lush and jagged terrain to the turquoise seas. Something caught my eye as I glanced back — something soft and delicately blue. I stopped to take a closer look and there on a petite blossom fanned an equally petite butterfly. I wanted to take time to examine it, to study it so I could later identify it and get to know it’s particularities. I didn’t have the chance because it flitted away, as if refusing to be examined — too modest for inquiring eyes.
I had a similar encounter a couple of days ago in a garden at Regent College. Only this time the rarity was behavioural. With as much suddenness, a hint of colour caught my eye and in the midst of the lushness of expertise, there was the exquisite and unexpectedly beautiful offer of contribution. Without pretense, without claims of expertise or showiness, there landed the gentle, quiet, spectacular presence of humility — bright against the verde of productivity and competence — alighting on a blossom we may have missed without humility’s attention.
Later I recalled the encounter to my husband and found myself weeping at the wonder of such a gift on a very ordinary journey of work and organization.
May God grant us eyes to see and ears to hear the beauty of humility as we hike along life’s ridges.