When you go hiking up a mountain with your fit husband and fit daughter and find that, between the altitude and the steep grade, you can’t keep up with them, even though it’s a hike you’ve done before, you eat a little humble pie. Then, when your boot slips on some rocks on the way back down and you fall and bruise your tailbone, you eat a big slice of humble pie. You see by the solicitous looks on their faces that you have in fact aged while you were not paying attention, and maybe you should stick to activities more suited to your abilities. It’s a day for humble pie a la mode.
I must admit that I am surprised by physical limitations. I am used to feeling in control, at the top of my game, the super mom who can handle anything life proposes. Curtailing a hike due to waves of nausea and a pounding heart, and ending it clumsily on my butt, are not the kinds of events that jive with my self-image. And facing my shortcomings is not my idea of a pleasant morning.
The taste of that humble pie, however, is a good reminder for me that I am not in charge, and that I have never been in charge. God is. My ego likes to think differently, but as Jesus reminds us, in the Gospel of Matthew, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (Mt. 19:26) I need this reminder on a daily basis. If my career as a super mom has been entirely due to the presence of God, my growing older is also happening by the grace of God. My best moments have always occurred when I have relied on God rather than on my inflated image of myself.
I may yet try that hike again, after I tackle some smaller hikes, and if I get back into the shape that permits long, steep climbs up a mountain. But I will do it with clear-eyed gratitude: for legs that can walk and lungs that can breathe and a heart that intuits that everything I do is thanks to a good and gracious God. Sometimes pie is good for me.