A Primer for Thankfulness and Humility by Ben Partain

There was a time not so long ago I didn’t have ANY of the qualities of a real leader, husband or supervisor. I had a small amount of God given talent for managing people and being a provider but I lacked two important elements: Thankfulness and humility. One time Rhonda thought she would inspire and embolden me by telling me I was the “President” of our family (whew…big mistake). She hoped to instill a sense of leadership in me but I twisted it into a culture of being more like a dictator. She was exasperated once when I asked her “Have you ever heard of the golden rule?” She being an old dyed in the wool Baptist from way back she told me of course she had, I flippantly remarked “The one with the gold makes the rules”. She was offended and angry as she should have been because I had become less than humble.

Life has a way of kicking you in the seat of the pants sometimes and in retrospect, I was pretty much due. We had decided on taking a job in Philadelphia and I gained a small measure of humility but I wasn’t thankful for this new well-paying opportunity, I was upset to be away from home and the experience was difficult on our daughters because only one of them came along for the year-long adventure. I’ve been chronically diabetic all my life most likely and the stress of a new job in conjunction with the pressures of managing thirty-eight people was really taking its toll on me, I developed an almost fatal toe infection, lost my left big toe and just about my left leg due to a horrific case of cellulitis. I was not thankful for my good health up until then and had little humility about being made responsible for so many team members but things were changing as there were storms on the horizon.

Although I lost a major toe they saved my leg with a two-month hospital stay and many aggressive rounds of antibiotics, just as my foot finally healed, however, came news the envelope plant I was relocated to work in was closing. I was invited to stay and work in another plant but given the option to be released from my contract and head back to Georgia. We jumped at the opportunity and headed back home. I took another supervisory position in Columbus, Georgia but about the time I started, I noticed I was having severe problems seeing at night as I drove home from work one night. The short version is I was going blind due to diabetic retinopathy and we relocated to Bremen, Georgia to plan our very unstable future. I had driven my last drive and was prepared to live out my life basically sightless and hopeless, we began to notice I was swelling uncontrollably, my kidneys were shutting down.

The point is I thought I would live forever and never have a single health issue, I thought I was the smartest guy in the biggest of rooms and deserved the respect of any president, king or emperor. The great news is Rhonda gave me her left kidney, they improved my sight enough to go back to college and work from home again, but most importantly I learned to be humble or get humbled, to be thankful or you’ll end up thankless. I learned nothing is promised so, do everything you can to stop and praise God for what you have and be helpful to others always and you’ll be blessed one-hundred times over, I’m in a fantastic place now spiritually and I invite everyone to come along and join the ride.


2 thoughts on “A Primer for Thankfulness and Humility by Ben Partain

  1. Ben, your humility shines like a light. Your words are almost audible as I read them. Such a powerful story! Rhonda is amazing for giving you a kidney. Such humility in her part too. Love your blog! Keep it coming.


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