During the coming days, a pair of family graduations: one high school, one college. Due to the work, growth and achievements of the students, these are among our life's most profound celebrations.
Is it humbling?
Why do people who experience similar simchas say they are "humbled"?
Recently, a businessperson announced he had won several industry awards. "I am both honored and humbled." So, I asked him, "I understand how you feel honored. Congratulations! But exactly how is receiving such recognition a humbling experience?" (Observers laughed, but my wonderment was serious. It must have been a humbling question. I didn't hear an answer.)
He probably felt some humility appropriate. For these are not solely my achievements. I didn't achieve this without the help and support of others. I am blessed with good fortune. "No man is an island." That's probably what the award-winner was appreciating.
I am wrestling with my own question: how exactly is this humbling? Do I feel humbled by these milestones? I am buoyed, enervated, jazzed, inspired. That these are not my achievements is not reducing any swelling of my own head. I feel proud, relieved, happy. While it is not my immediate future in the balance, I feel excited for the graduates.
Humbled? Humility is nearby. Perhaps I need to cultivate the humility in this moment.
Here's what's humbling (part 1):
I don't know how to celebrate this.
Sure, I know: just live. Breathe. Smile and take in the splendor. Infuse breathtaking moments with breathing and presence. Respond with a full heart to the unfolding of these days. Stay close to those I love.
I know it is just that easy.
(But I feel like I don't know.)
Here's what's humbling (part 2):
Where are our own parents?
For the first time since all four of our parents have died, I want to ask each of them: How is this done? How did you do this?
How did you celebrate our graduations?
Their silence tolls in my ear that the longer part of my life is past, and the shorter part remains. (Tolling? Tinnitus perhaps.)