The birds a singing as I sit by our flat’s eastern window, gazing at a medieval city and reflecting. Once upon a time, I was so concerned about what people thought of me that I’d do almost anything to make sure they approved. Yet I considered myself humble because I didn’t think or talk highly of myself.

As I watch low clouds encroach on the walls of Conflans, I ponder what those walls might have witnessed in their thousand years of guard duty. And it seems to me that God places lessons of life all around me, if I look.

I know nothing of the young lovers who must’ve walked hand-in-hand those walls down through all those centuries. Why on Earth should I think my life is more significant than theirs, that it matters what people think of me? Time itself teaches me my insignificance.

Only Jesus shows me my significance, in purchasing my life with His own. Who knows? Perhaps one of those lovers basking in the view of this alpine valley, met Jesus and showed her children who He was. Perhaps they embraced Him then passed on their knowledge of Him to others who passed it on, and the cycle repeated through four thousand generations, until it reached me. The only thing of that young lover’s life that lasted, then, was Jesus in her – her faith.

Even time teaches me my proper place of true humility*: Jesus in me, my faith, is the one thing that might last. So I wonder, what am I doing to live it, and to pass it on? And why do I waste time worrying about what “they” think of me, who will disappear into history in just two or three generations?

Albertville from Conflans. Our house is visible on the far side of the valley.

*It has been said that humility is not thinking little of oneself, but rather, not thinking of oneself at all.