I can still smell the stench of the landfill.
It was middle school. My Dad rolled up in his rusty, no-air-conditioner-during-the-Las-Vegas-summer-heat, manual windows, but trusty 1965 Chevy pickup truck.
We all know middle school is already an awkward stage, but compound it with being picked up from private school by your dad in his smelly truck wearing his landfill-scented waste management uniform.
There was no way to make up cool stories about that or cover it up. Why couldn’t my dad be like the other dads with a “cooler” car, a less smelly uniform for work, or maybe with less of a Spanish accent?
The concept of “humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God” (Sirach 3:18) from today's memorial readings hadn’t taken root yet in my adolescent mind. It wasn’t until later in my young adult life that I would understand and value those lessons in humility.
My dad’s school of humility taught me that when humility is welcomed, embraced, and even prized, Jesus reveals His love more deeply because of the receptiveness of that humbled heart.
Even as his body weakened because of stage four pancreatic cancer, my Dad would still kneel and pray in front of our home altar that consisted of statues, icons, and images—some of which he had found in the trash and was able to fully restore.
I recognize the love of the Father in my own father, and it humbles me to joyfully proclaim the love that God has for each and every one of us. We don’t have to live in shame of our humbled circumstances because we can be assured that God is glorified in them (see Sirach 3:20).
As for that rusty, smelly Chevy pickup truck—I am now the proud owner. It sits in my garage awaiting a full restoration some day. For now, it serves as a reminder of the school of humility from which I come.
Sister, take a moment to think about how humility has shaped your life. We always hope it can bring us closer to the Father.