"Be humble in your confidence yet courageous in your character." ~ Melanie Koulouis
There's this song on the radio called 'Humble and Kind', Every time it comes on I can't help but think of my son Joshua. There's many parts of this song that remind of my oldest child, but there's one verse that brings tears to my eyes each and every time I hear Tim McGraw sing them..."Don't expect a free ride from no one. Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why: Bitterness keeps you from flyin'. Always stay humble and kind."
As a child not only did Joshua find himself the unfortunate whipping boy of my cancer, he also fought a learning disability, depression and ended up on the receiving end of other kid's insecurities. Joshua was picked on, made fun of and as a teenager he faced bullies of indescribable brutality that left him with a Traumatic Brain Injury, seizures and a constant thumping inside his head. Fear and bitterness could have guided him, taking root deep inside his character, making him angry and resentful. Now to be honest there were moments along the way when Johnny and I saw him overpowered by dismay, angst and agitation. Believe me I was as scared for him as he was for himself. As a mom, I was there with him as he fought the demons back. But in those times as Johnny and I worried ourselves, we prayed both for and with Joshua. To be honest I can't believe we ever got through some of those times myself, but we did and he did. Together we learned to "Pray big. Worry less. Trust God. Love people. Laugh more. Stress less. Have fun. Live free." And now Joshua's 20, a man really, not a little boy any longer. He's tall, handsome and brave. He's a gentleman just like his Paw Paw taught him to be. He's a fisherman, still casting his line beside his dad every chance he gets day or night. He's a passionate musician following in his Nana's footsteps. He loves comic books, Star Wars, Disney and Medieval folklore just as passionately as I do. Joshua's a kind, gentle and very humble soul. He has always been this way, never taking credit even when it was his to claim. I've watched him give up his place to others, turn down invitations he'd longed for because he'd already committed to something much less fanciful and yes even allowing others to take credit for his ideas many times over. This is who Joshua is and while we are very much aware Joshua is not perfect, as his brother will most definitely tell you I can say Joshua is absolutely humble and kind.
Joshua has his own set of talents that continues to humble us. He's always been the kind of boy, and now absolutely the kind of man who believes you should "climb the mountain so you can see the world. Not so the world can see you." Even in his abilities, his natural talents Joshua has always been humble, meek, modest and un-presuming. It's part of the reason through the years some folks have overlooked him or even taken advantage of his giving nature. I will tell you this when he gets on those drums, pulls out the cajone or even the bongos the room is turned upside down. Still in those moments Joshua has no clue he's just brought an entire room to a complete astonished, awestruck silence. You see Joshua with all his humility has never fully understood he's more than a simple man, living a simple life. He sees himself as average, nothing more and nothing less but as his mother and as a witness to his kindness, humility and sacrifice, I know better. This is the truth I understand about my son, "A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect...it is about being real, being humble, being strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others." (Power of Positivity)
As a man my baby now stands 6 feet tall. I know he's a man, grown and well on his way to a life of his own but I can't help but still see the little boy inside of him full of dreams and aspirations. I look at my son today and I see a lifetime of hope, strength, kindness and humility. I see him and I know one day he will not only be a good husband and father but I know without a doubt he's already a good man. As I look to Joshua and see the opportunities on his horizon I realize just how spot on James 4:6 is," But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” And God's grace is with Joshua. I do not say this as a proud mama but as a witness to Joshua's life. He's fought the hounds of hell, suffered through unfair hardships and still he's always stayed humble, kind and brave. He's kept his faith strong, his heart pure and his hope un-penetrable despite the worst. Our son has taught us, his parents this, "You will not always be the smartest person in the room, and you will not always be the strongest or the funniest or the most talented. But you can always be brave and you can always be kind, and these are the things you should be every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Because yes, those other things, they're great things but these things are better."
And so the reality is Joshua's definitely waited longer than most for many things we take for granted ourselves but in doing so he's gained a deeper perspective than most ever will. Yes many right of passage milestones have come later for him, but they have come nonetheless. I personally feel that in each and every accomplishment, late or not Joshua's learned to fully appreciate each individual goal even more. Yes it seriously pains me to know my son has been physically injured, teased, mocked and made fun of for his faith, his weight, lack of a driver's license, a job and taking his time in school all in the light of a TBI. But good things come to those who wait, and in Joshua's case those who overcome adversity with grace and humility succeed. So now after learning to take his time, not to rush or allowing the opinions of other's to effect his self-worth Joshua is finding his own success. At 20 years old he's allowing God not only to lead but to open the right doors, one at a time. In doing this Joshua's bravely walking his own path. Everything he's ever wanted is coming together. He has an amazing core group of friends who not only count on him but he counts on. He's driving solo with a vehicle of his own. He's working, playing ice hockey and has more than lost the weight, he's gained muscle too. He's going to school not only to get a degree but to pursue his calling. He's becoming a musician and an artist but most importantly Joshua's learned in his life to "Be strong but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold but not bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud but not arrogant."
Taking notes from Psalm 15: 9 when I step back taking a full inventory of Joshua's life I see a beautiful tapestry of hope and possibility, pain and yes even set backs all spun together in bright bold colors, inspiring and sparking optimism. But I also see his conviction, his faith, trust and a strong belief in His Father above all in spite of the suffering and misadventures along the way. I know with out a doubt Joshua is humble, even when he rightfully deserves the spotlight and recognition. And because of this very same strong trait in his character he's been able to do what is right even when it wasn't always easy. As his mom, I see Joshua's great example of humility and kindness and I'm humbled. But as a witness to his life, well I look at his example and I'm inspired to be more like him. And so my two cents here today for Life Lesson #114 ~ Humble and Kind come directly from Tim McGraw himself, "Don't take for granted the love this life gives you.When you get where you're going don't forget turn back around and help the next one in line. Always stay humble and kind."