Humble Visitors

Each year around this time, a group of little ladies in ‘hats’ visit my ‘full of wildlife’, natural back garden. With heads bowed hiding their inner beauty, they ‘speak’ and display their humility for the duration of their time with me. Their family name is unusual and one which does not trip easily from my tongue: Erythronium. 

Their common name is Dog’s Tooth Violet, which is not very flattering; and they really do not look like, what I consider to be, violets. However, dig deep and one will find that their bulbs pertain to look like dog’s teeth. My ‘ladies’ prefer the shade, shunning bright sunlight, being found beneath our neighbours’ overhanging tree.  

I believe it was Thomas Moore (1779-1859) who described humility as ‘a low, sweet root from which all heavenly virtues shoot.’ Henry Ward Beecher, an American Congregationalist clergyman, wrote that ‘pride kills thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows.’  

My erythroniums thrive beneath the shade of another’s tree. Christians live and take their stand beneath the shadow of the cross upon which Jesus Christ, the sacrifice for sin of all mankind, was laid. The risen Lord Jesus Christ, by His Holy Spirit enables His followers to embrace and have His mind, producing amongst other virtues, thankfulness and humility. As believers everything we have and who we are,  is from Him and because of Him; thus all pride and boasting is to be excluded.

‘May the mind of Christ my Saviour 

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and power controlling

All I do or say.

May the Word of God dwell richly

In my heart from hour to hour,

So that all may see I triumph

Only through His power.


May the peace of God my Father

Rule my life in everything,

That I may be calm to comfort

Sick and sorrowing.


May the Love of Jesus fill me

As the waters fill the sea;

Him exalting, self abasing,

This is victory.


May I run the race before me,

Strong and brave to face the foe,

Looking only unto Jesus

As I onward go.


May His beauty rest upon me

As I seek the lost to win,

And may they forget the channel, 

Seeing only Him.’


-Kate Barclay Wilkinson (1859-1928)