Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On Humility and Humor - A Guest Post from Mothering Spirit

{So excited to welcome my friend Laura from Mothering Spirit to the blog today.  I hope you enjoy her as much as I do, and be sure to pay a visit to her blog when you are through reading here!}

When I first saw Lydia’s new tagline – The pursuit of a humble life – I stopped my usual skimming and surfing of the Internet.
I had to sit with this idea, because in one simple phrase Lydia captured what I love most about her blog: her humility in the face of motherhood’s joys and challenges, and her wisdom that family life is not a goal to be achieved but a journey to be pursued, together in humility.
I find myself thinking about humility a lot these days. Perhaps there’s something about life with little ones that’s naturally humbling. So often I find myself brought to my knees figuratively, if not literally, by my boys’ constant needs.

As I continue to grow into this calling of parenthood, I realize how often my own desires come face-to-face in confrontation with the demands of my children. Something has to give in order for us to move forward together as a family, and as the adult, I’m the one who often must take the high road by bending down to serve them out of love.
Yet I don’t believe practicing humility as a mother is simply stooping so low that our own selves get trampled in the process. Humility is not losing oneself, but shaping oneself in service to the other. It is the right recognition of our life in relationship to all those around us. It is the quiet virtue of seeking wisdom and sharing the gifts we were blessed to be given.
But lately I’ve been wondering about humility in a much sillier light—humility and humor.
The root of the word “humility” (“humus” – the earth) is the same as the root for “human” and “humor.” I’ve never forgotten this lovely etymology, because there’s so much truth hidden within these connections. Humor can bring together a group of strangers in a magical way precisely because it is grounded in the heart of what makes us human.
Both of my boys are at their own beginning stages of developing a sense of humor. Our oldest is discovering the goofy joy of making up playful words and trying to make us guess what he means after he babbles off a string of nonsense. Our youngest is proving to be a natural extrovert who loves to work a crowd with his bright eyes and a cheesy grin and a sing-song tease.

Watching them take their first steps towards the art of humor not only makes me burst out laughing every day, but also teaches me about the important place of humor in our relationships. Often it is when we relate to each other on this most delightful level that we learn what humility really means: that we are all grounded in the same “humus,” the same earthy joys and basic desires to be in right relationship with each other.
Lydia’s simple words about the pursuit of a humble life have been happily rattling around in my brain for weeks now. With this mothering mantra on my mind, I hope that our family – both the grown-ups and the little ones – can draw wisdom from this idea of life as a journey shaped by humility.
And thanks to my goofy, grinning boys, I am daily reminded that when I bend down to their level and get my hands dirty in the simple earthy joys where they find such delight, I meet them in a place of common joy where we are most human – together.
. . .

Laura Kelly Fanucci lives with her husband and two young boys in Minnesota, where a sense of humor is required to weather April snow. She is humbled daily by her attempts to work from home while her kids bang on her office door. And in the hours when she should be sleeping, she writes about faith and family life at Mothering Spirit.

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  1. Love this! Bull (3 years old) is our family clown and climbed into bed this morning. "I'm a boa constrictor. I'm going to squeeze Mommy until her bones are all broken and eat Mommy all up!" Accompanied by squeezing my arms with his hands and demanding a "boa constrictor hug" with peals of laughter....K

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