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Karen Anderson essay: Humility

Windborne Studios

Every morning I collect the newspaper from the front porch, feed the cat, and plug in a pot of coffee.  Then I go down in the basement to clean out my cat’s litter box.

On my knees in my old fleece bathrobe, I attend to this daily ritual and ponder the merits of humility.  And I wonder if the rich and famous ever clean out the litter box, pick up the dog poop, scrub the bathroom?  Probably they do not, but maybe they should.

Without this daily reminder, I might be tempted to think I’m better than I am—better and bigger and higher and mightier.  But in the basement with scoop in hand, I know the truth about my status and importance.  I’m important to my cat, yes, but beyond that I make few claims.

There are already too many people making too many claims on our attention and devotion.  When, really, we don’t owe them anything except respect—if it’s earned and if it’s mutual.   Instead of my applause, I’d rather give them each a box of cat litter and an invitation to the basement.

Down on my knees, I am one animal cleaning up after another—grateful that others clean up after me.  A good reminder, as I come upstairs and open the newspaper to read about the rich and famous.