The Urban Grind

What then is humility?


#TeacherAppreciationWeek #UnassumingAward #hospitality

What then is humility? I hope I have an answer, or at least some insight, considering to walk humbly is in our mission statement at Bridge City. Great question... wish I would've come up with it but, alas, I didn't. Nathan, thank you. I could launch off on some Biblical exposition of humility. I could erupt with disdain against pride. Or I could simply share some humbling moments in my life recently. Yeah, let's do that.

#TeacherAppreciationWeek began today, which meant that my preparations began yesterday. You see, we appreciate the love, care, energy, patience, and dedication that the teachers at our inner city schools display. So, it only made sense for us to offer them some condolence of support through tacos. Last year we made tacos and brought with us a side of banners, invite cards, business cards, and summer send-off goodie bags. My goal was to impress and redirect the devotion of these teachers to the efforts of the pre-launch preparations of BCC. Let me save a few paragraphs and admit that the bottom of that taco supreme fell right out. What then is humility? While braising pork shoulder and chicken thighs until midnight I concluded that humility is being hospitable in honor of these teacher neighbors with no ulterior motive than love. I brought no banners. Handed out zero cards. Introduced myself and the church less than 5 times. Why...? Because I was humbled by the solitude of serving lunch to over 100 weary educating souls.

#UnassumingAward For two full school years now I have been making weekly visits to a 5th grade class where I'd like to believe I'm succeeding on some lever of mentorship. While the jury is still out on that one I was humbled when a few weeks ago teachers were congratulating me for an award I didn't know I had been nominated for, much less received. Yet, there I was standing on a playground hearing from Mrs. Graves that she and a few other faculty had nominated me for the Hamilton County Education Association "Friend of Education Award". Humbling yes, but illuminating to what humility is... almost. I expressed my surprise and gratitude but felt no pride or joy really. Honestly, I said aloud that I hadn't really done anything to deserve it. That's when she informed me that every single 5th grader had written a letter of endorsement citing reasons why I should be given the award. "He comes every week..." "Mr. Josh always asks me how I am doing and cares about me..." "He loves us..." "He cooks good food for us at the center..." What then is humility?

#hospitality By now you should realize that I like to cook and hospitality is a big deal here at Bridge City Community. I love to cook because I find serving food to others an exercise in humility. I hate to be cooked for. Not because I'm a picky eater (although I was the worst as a child). Not because I don't enjoy a meal prepared by someone else. I hate to be cooked for because it is a humbling experience to be served by someone else. More than anything that has happened since the birth of BCC this experience was the most humbling. We were invited to lunch in the hood. Cora, Man Man, LaTasha, and QJ insisted we come over after church for some good southern cookin. They did not disappoint. More than the BBQ that stained my mustache crimson, or the bubbles that floated blissfully unaware from the breathe of the kids, it was the hospitality of these once strangers turned friends that humbled me. With an Orange Crush in my hand; ribs, slaw, and greens on my plate; the sun beating on my brow; I sat and stared at the cracked concrete. I gazed upon the overgrown lot across the street, and reminisced about the blocks I had walked months before praying for trust and acceptance, and here we were - my family and I - kickin it with the Jones's (for real, that's their last name). What then is humility?

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