Psalm 119:65-72 – Teth – Humility
You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
The arrogant smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts.
Their hearts are fat and gross, but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was humbled, so that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
The other morning at Spring Grove was a time I got several shots that I am fairly sure will show up at some point in this project. Today’s is another one. I saw this figure while driving around the cemetery and was struck by what was missing – her hands. I immediately thought of my favorite novel of all time, A Prayer for Owen Meany. Strange as it sounds to those who have not read the book, missing hands figure prominently into the story. If you have not read the book, stop reading this now, read the book and come back here – spoilers ahead.
In the story, missing front paws on an armadillo, missing arms on a statue, and eventually Owen’s as well are themes throughout. When Owen returns Johnny’s armadillo without its front paws (you need to read the book to understand), its a recognition of what Owen’s unintentional act has taken from Johnny’s life – Owen is humbled and broken by what has happened. The motif stays throughout the story as Owen grapples with following what God has appointed for his life, until he comes to a time where he ultimately accepts and submits in humility to the will of God in his life. His final diary entry (written in the caps that Owen’s words are throughout the book) says, “TODAY’S THE DAY! HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE; AND WHOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE.” Ultimately through the struggle throughout the book, Owen submits to God’s will and calling in his life.
We cannot submit to anyone or anything without humility, just as the Psalmist speaks of here in the 2nd to last verse, “It is good for me that I was humbled, so that I might learn your statutes” while also speaking of those who have yet to experience humility. Humility comes when we recognize (so to speak) that we do not have the hands to do it ourselves and we need an other (or others).
In our powerless-ness, in our humility, may we live the prayer that Owen prayed and the prayer that Johnny prayed for Owen…”Into paradise may the angels lead you…”