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He told me God was not boastful

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

A Peacock is always Humble in that it is exactly as it was created to be. Similar to the sun, it does not apologize for its brilliance, nor does it shrink to make other creatures more comfortable with its presence. They are confident in their humility because they cannot be otherwise. Nature is perfect because it doesn't pretend to be, it just is.

While I am clear that humans are not peacocks or sunrises, I often wonder if there isn't anything to be learned from this living metaphor? Is there another aspect of humility that can be understood by watching them, or nature? Maybe a new definition can be created, one that does not leave room for confusing insecurity with humility or mistaking confidence for arrogance.

A mentor once took aside me and told that my work was too 'boastful'. My metaphors were too broad and my images too surreal. He ended by saying "God" was humble and I should try to be more like HIM. I remember walking away thinking two things. First, "MY metaphors are too broad and you're sending me off to be like 'God"... (insert side eye), and second, had this man ever seen the perfection of a sunrise or the magnificent orange, purple and red of a sunset? Nature is proof that God is a humble braggart. Nothing casually screams 'look at me!!' louder, and very few things demanded more honor and awe.

Years later, I realized the depth of my mentor’s point. Humility, like nature, and like God does not try to be anymore or any less than it is, but my writing was trying. It was trying to be more than my limited experience could offer, and by using inflated images to camouflage this, I only succeeded in creating work far below what my talent required. I believe this is what happens when we play ourselves small, hoping to disguise our insecurities as humility. Or when we put on shallow bravado hoping that it will pass for confidence. There is no peace or perfection in pretending. Eventually the weight of denial or the pressure of posturing will take its toll on us and the very things that we are trying to birth into the world, but there is a perfection and peace that only comes from showing up in all your glory and being as humble as you were created to be.

I collect sunrises, hoping that if I catch enough of them, I will somehow internalize the sacredness of humility, the art of laying down and offering all that I was blessed to be and become. Not for applause or recognition, but just for the beauty and blessing of giving what I was sent to give. I took the picture on the cover on a balloon ride over the Valley of Kings in Luxor. I woke up at 3am waited on boat dock -in a country where I was both foreign and woman, black and inconspicuously alone- for a bus to pick me up because I wanted to catch another glimpse of God being gloriously humble. I wanted to see, yet again, how s/he could spread and peel a horizon into colors more brilliant than any I have ever seen, and know that tomorrow it will be outdone … again.

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