(image from "about St Francis")
I was baptised as a baby. I attended Scripture at Primary School, and everyone in my family was married at a church; we were/are a Christian family without the regularity of a devoutly religious grouping. Both my parents believed in God, and I did as a child. I outsourced, what I saw as my innate gifts, to God. In actual fact I saw it as a kind of divine trade-off with God - to "compensate" me for my missing limbs, He gave me talents beyond imagining, the ability to play the piano, a fantastic speller (a skill that has sadly reduced), a natural ability in the water, the skill to draw.....
But was it right to "outsource" by skills as being a divine intervention? Or were these skills just part of me, myself, and (Ego) I?
Keeping on the Christian theme (humility is a HUGE aspect of the Christian faith), I look to St Francis of Assisi, and his understanding of humility and divine gifts from God.
The other day I was watching a documentary on Youtube - How to Live a Simple Life - and Peter Owen Jones, the guy who is trying to live a simple life (and also a minister in the Anglican Church), has based this entire project on the concept of St Francis of Assisi's monastic, simple, quiet day to day life, without materialistic concerns, such as money. One of the pertinent things that pops up in the documentary is Owen Jones' exploration of pride and ego over being humble and accepting of help from others. He says this about St Francis' philosophy - "Giving up money makes you vulnerable, it forces you to swallow your pride and take lessons in humility."
"Swallow your pride and take lessons in humility."
To try to be humble, in this sense, is to really think about the interconnectedness of all things. In this article on Huffington Post - "St Francis on Pride, Humility and Creation" - the author states "God is the source of every good thing, gift, talent, event, experience and so on. We are not the sources of our selves, the originators of our own existence, but beneficiaries of the free and gratuitous love of God."
St Francis of Assisi said that "nothing belongs to you," and from a view of humility or being humble, he is correct. Where we are, right here, right now, is not purely because of ourselves, we are where we are because of the countless influences, events, and relationships that have happened up until this point. Interconnectedness at its most poignant.
I often say to children that I could not have swum at the Paralympics without my parents, family, friends, coaches, teammates, Dr's, psychologists, physiotherapists, etc. I could not have achieved my results at Uni without my family, friends, lecturers, fellow academics, supervisors, technical staff, etc. I couldn't run my business without family, friends, business partners, fellow speakers, schools, teachers, pupils, etc. I realise that I cannot boast, I cannot be proud, without recognising - publicly - that I could not have achieved what I had without all of these other people. In essence, and to bring this discussion full circle, I am recognising that my talent was outsourced to hundreds of other people - just as I believed God gave me the talent to play the piano, so all of these people gave me the skills to swim, academically write, and make speeches.
To be truly humble is to see that you are not alone and in accepting that "nothing belongs to you; you can boast in none of these things." Knowing that you are supported, and also that you support; just as others help you, you help others, even if you don't realise this. This is true interconnectedness and true humility.
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright