Of all the character qualities a person can have, I find humility to be the most attractive. I am a huge fan of Stephen Curry because not only is he a phenomenal athlete but he is also a very humble, loyal man who prioritizes God and family over money and career success. I do not know him on a personal level but from interviews and articles written I can tell by the way he carries himself and acts around others that he is different. It is very easy to tell the difference between a humble person, who has gratitude and respect for others and knows they did not get where they are today on their own and a person who is self-centered, prideful and glory hungry.
When I first got to college, I was quickly humbled and put in my place. I applied for many leadership roles and received “no” for the majority of them. I realized a huge error I was making in not seeking any advice before applying for positions and attending interviews. I had a sister who was a senior and had been through everything I was going through, yet I went in with my head held high and was way too sure of myself. I learned a lot about myself in the first few months of college and I realized that I had developed a bit of a pride issue. I have always hated being around cocky people and I find it rather funny and ironic that I began to struggle with the quality I despised so much. However, after discovering the root problem, I began to work on myself and seek the wisdom of older students who had gone before me and experienced far more than I have. I believe that the Lord said “yes” to some positions and “no” to others so that I could fully invest where I was placed, rather than spread myself thin. Freshman year was the most incredible, life-changing year for me and I look back constantly in awe of the amount of growth it brought about.
However, never have I been so humbled than when I met forty of the most incredible people. A common theme on this trip was that everyone regrets not going out of their way to meet each other throughout the school year. We all found it rather sad that it took this trip to bond us. But, we are all friends now and that it something to celebrate.
It is hard for me to admit this, but I went into this trip with some false perceptions of certain people and I did not recognize the majority of the faces attending. When I really got to know the people I had thought were kind of odd and quirky, I discovered how amazing they are. I am actually kind of a weird, goofy person and it was fun to bond with people I had’t realized were so similar to me. I think there is something really special about being abroad and disconnected from social media, technology, and common distractions that allows people to engage in deep, meaningful conversations with each other. The cell phone is a device people use to avoid awkward silences and situations rather than get to know the people in front of them. I believe that being away from my cell phone, and all its distractions, I was able to get to know my peers and engage in some truly meaningful conversations. I think that’s huge. There’s a large difference between knowing things about someone and actually knowing that person. There are the shallow, small talk conversations and the meaningful, I-want-to-know-about-you-because-I-genuinely-care conversations.
When I looked up the definition of what it means to be humble, I found that google states it is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.” Nothing will show you how small you are than traveling to a completely different area and culture. In a healthy, necessary way, I have realized the insignificance in many of my decisions, fears and views. Life is far too short to sweat the small stuff and to stress over petty things in life. When I saw women on their hands and knees, hoping to be shown love and mercy by small gifts of leftover change, it moved my heart. I have so much to be grateful for and nothing I have ever received is because of myself. I owe it all to the Lord and those He has placed in my life. I felt truly humbled and honored to be in the presence of the Statue of David, to be standing in the colosseum, sitting in the forum, and gazing up at the Sistine Chapel. These were magical moments for me and I will never be able to thank those who gave me this opportunity enough. The art and the people I have gotten to know have moved me and my heart is overwhelmed with love and gratitude.
I know this blog doesn’t make much sense. I am feeling so much right now, joy, gratefulness, humility, loneliness, a longing to relive many special moments on this trip, and much more. It has been hard for me to put everything into words and focus on a specific word when I was taught so much on this trip and saw incredible growth in myself. But, I tried my best to sum up one of the most impactful trips I have been on into a specific word. It may seem jumbled, but the bottom line is I am forever grateful for the people, places, art and history, food :P, and adventures I experienced the past two weeks. As Billy Graham would say, “gratitude is the overflow of a humble heart.” I reflect on my time in Italy and my heart is filled with joy and thankfulness.