It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.
– St. Augustine
I know when I've met a person who is really, truly humble- because it's far too easy not to notice real humility.
Real humility is quiet. Humble people don't draw attention to themselves. I'm not talking about the stereotype of the meek person in the corner, but the one who rolls up his/her sleeves and does the footwork. The guy or gal who volunteers to do the tasks that go unsung. Like my pca, friend and fellow Catholic, Meredith.
The other day I emailed Meredith about a concern I had that something was above and beyond the call of duty regarding what she does as a personal care assistant for me. Meredith is , primarily, an author. And somehow manages also to be, primarily, my pca. Not easy. Almost impossible to pull off. But it gets done. And when I emailed her about the concern, we worked things out.
Being a pca involves doing a lot of unsung tasks. It's hard to do that on a day to day basis. There's never going to be any recognition of what she does. It's not fair.
People tell ME I'm inspirational. Well what about Meredith who does the many tasks that allow me to then do what I do? People tell ME it's wonderful that I have a good attitude (on most days). What about the times Meredith comes in here and my company isn't worth a dime yet she talks to me about her day so I snap out of it?
And on and on. And here's where the real humility comes in: when I occasionally tell her how much I appreciate what she's doing, she says "Oh it helps me too."
So the next time you meet a person who is doing an unsung task and who rolls up his/her sleeves and quietly works in the background, check it out. Sounds to me like they've got some humility. Try calling them inspirational and see how they react. If they give an answer like she did, they've probably got a pretty serious case of humility. You don't even need to take their temperature.
Observe. Learn. If you're very lucky, it might be catching.