Humbled and Humiliated

You don’t know how full of pride you are until you’re humbled or humiliated.

My car broke down a week ago. Days later after writing about it. I was blocks away from leaving church, then it happened. All types of weird sounds started coming from the hood. I felt the floor shake. I looked at my wife with fear in my eyes, “This can’t be happening.” The transmission went kaput.

You can tell that I was excited in my decision on swapping my 2012 for a 1993 (the beater). I was firm. Hence, I made the sell without hesitation. But things changed when I had to appear in public with it. On selling the “new” car, I felt secure. Victorious in a way. It was the best decision of 2014. But as I made the beater part of my day-to-day routines, I felt a weird feeling inside as familiar people looked my way – embarrassment.

I was so clouded by the financial benefit that I forgot how much of an emotional and psychological toll this was going to be on my family and me.

I arrived to church for the first time with the beater. As I stepped out, I realized that I’ve never done this before; ever in my life. It fell on me like cold water. You see, I’m always looking spiffy. Nice haircut. Ironed suit. Ready for drumming action. Beautiful wife and kid. New car, but now take that out of the equation. It’s a humongous downgrade. My mind started playing tricks on me when I noticed. Why doesn’t it feel great all of the sudden? Why do I feel eyes all over me? I felt like hiding, running, and screaming. But I managed to compress it all in a chuckle. Several.

I couldn’t show my wife this side of me, after being so radical with the idea.

Then I noticed how much of my embarrassment was also partnered with pride. And that was just the beginning of the day.

When the service was done, I run to my car. Diverting every single known face. I parked way back, close to the exit. Just a quick two point turn, and I was out! A guy stops me. He tells a me a wonderful story of how much he’s been blessed lately. I rejoiced in that. Until he slammed it on me. God, someway, somehow, provided him a brand new 2015 car with zero miles without owing a dime. No car payments. I didn’t ask the details. I literally zoned out after he told me and thought, “God, why don’t you bless me that way. Why him?” as his lips moved. I managed to end the conversation and run back to the beater where my wife and baby awaited for me. A guy parked next to me points towards the car and says, “hey, your front bumper is broken.” Of course, I knew that. I messed it up 3 days back. It’s completely off on the left side. I have to manually clip it back up for it to look normal. Yeah, it needs some serious fixing. “Thanks,” I replied with a chuckle.

So, I leave. Two blocks down, the car breaks. Everything inside me came out. I kicked the floor with a possible curse word, “fuuh…” I gripped that steering wheel. It failed me. The plan, the car, and my idea. My little girl cries in the back. My wife tries to calm me down. I call dad. “I think I’m going to need your help and a tow truck.” But more importantly, an extra hand pushing this car back to safety where is not six o’clock traffic. I put the hazard lights. Car drive around me. I still try to hide my face from the world.

I wanted to do this on my own. I couldn’t call anyone to help. But that was just plain ridiculous. I told my wife (I didn’t have the courage) to call someone. She did.

I manage to park the car inside the church, after getting three guys and pastor himself to push. I was broken. Wrecked.

The whole world, to me, saw the beater and me in it. Not the way I expected. I really wanted to shout, “Hey, I’m saving dollars and dollar because I switched to an old car I can call my own.“ But God seemed to have other plans in mind.

A trucks tows the beater back home the following day.

That night I stood in the kitchen with tears in my eyes telling my wife how I felt after the fact. I never been so humbled. I never realized I had this in me. All I prayed under my breath, “Thank You for the lesson.”

Now, pride is for sale. I don’t want it.

10 Replies to “Humbled and Humiliated”

  1. wow, powerful story and reminder of the cost of pride. I totally resonate with the humility vs humiliation dynamic. seems like he’ll use anything to make sure we stay leveled—even our most logical, fail-proof plans! it’s like we set our own selves up for the stripping experience about to take place and we don’t even know it. sheesh. but all the better for us. thanks for writing this.

  2. Like I shared on Twitter: your best writing this year so far… Straight from what’s up in your life, and dagger to the heart. Keep growing my friend. Loved you had the “c*j*nes” to share this with us and with the world.

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