The story of an answered prayer (unfortunately the prayer was for humility)

August 10, 2007 | 5 comments

I’m about to delete an old blog of mine that I kept a couple years ago and decided to take a little trip down memory lane and read through some of the old posts. It was interesting because the subject matter of the blog didn’t have anything to do with religion, I actually specifically avoided mentioning it, yet it was during the time that I was first beginning to explore the possibility of God.

I came across one post in particular that recounts one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. After laughing at my utter asininity, I checked the date and realized that this happened around the time that I first attempted to pray. I’d recently read Mere Christianity and similar books and had become aware of the importance of humility when seeking God. Though I didn’t really understand why it was so important (and probably didn’t really have much interest in actually being humble) I threw out a couple half-hearted prayers for God to teach me humility. I’m pretty sure that this incident, which I describe here in a post written in 2005, happened shortly after I started these prayers. From the “be careful what you wish for in prayer” files, I reprint this post for your Friday amusement:


[From October 2005]

So tonight my mom and some of our neighbor friends went to a little neighborhood party at the local model home. (Yes, I said “party” at a “model home.” The long discourse about how my life has changed that I am now attending parties at model homes — happily — will be the subject of another post.) One of the big builders in this neighborhood frequently hosts little beer and wine get-togethers to encourage the neighbors to get to know one another and to realize how totally inferior their own homes are to the immaculate 3, 400 sq ft model.

The party was very nicely done with a wide variety of wine and beer and catering from the gourmet grocery store Central Market. One of my neighbors and fellow wine lovers, an older lady from California named Samantha, latched onto me as soon as I walked in the door. Assuming that because I drink a lot of wine I must therefore know a lot about wine, she immediately asked me to tell her all about the varietals they were serving and to recommend one that she might like. I hesitated since I’m really not any kind of wine expert, but decided to go ahead and make a recommendation for the sake of conversation.

And here is where I should have followed my rule of When in Doubt, SHUT UP. But no.

Since I didn’t really know anyone else there or know what else to talk about with my neighbor, in a terribly misguided effort to avoid any uncomfortable silence I started talking at length about wine. I told Samantha that the big jugs of Beringer and Chateau Ste. Michelle they were serving in plastic cups in the kitchen were OK, but that we should really be trying the great stuff that they had over in the living room.

Over at the formal bar they had out an excellent bottle of Yellow Tail shiraz, a couple of other bottles of southern hemisphere reds, and a Villa Maria sauvignon blanc. This was the real deal: this was good stuff, and they even had nice, big Riedel wine glasses to serve it in. Some glasses were already filled, so I took the opportunity to point out how you could tell the more opaque reds were the Yellow Tail shiraz because of the more full-bodied grapes they use, and admired the clarity of the elegant Villa Maria white.

Evidently what I was saying sounded half interesting because a few other people came over to listen in, and it snowballed into a mini lecture on oenology. Using the filled glasses as a reference, I discussed how everything from climate, rainfall, or even the types of barrels used could impact the color, aroma and flavors of each vintage. A couple people asked how I knew so much about wine. I gave an appropriate “aww, shucks” comment, but thought to myself that perhaps I really did know a fair amount about the subject.

After talking at length I finally decided that I would take a glass of the robust shiraz, which I identified from its distinct color. I was making a point about how much more of the aroma you can get in these great Riedels and reached for the glass to swirl it around a bit so Samantha could smell for herself.

I picked it up and, to my horror, rather than the liquid sloshing around when I touched it…it all moved in one piece. The stupid thing was FAKE, the “liquid” made of clear red plastic for display purposes only. In one motion, I went from “amateur sommelier” to “total asshat.”

Unfortunately the model home didn’t also come with a trap door that you could escape into when you make a total fool of yourself in front of all your neighbors. (Or if it did I’m sure it would be FAKE.)

My husband almost died laughing when I told him this story, imagining me then saying, “Hey, why don’t we just forget about this and watch some TV on this great flatscreen, ” or, “Would anyone like some grapes with their wine? They have the most delicious looking fruit bowl on the table!”

There are probably a few lessons to be learned here, the main one being: be very, very careful when you go to parties in model homes.


In retrospect, I would add another element to the lesson here: you may want to avoid events in model homes for a while if you have recently prayed for God to teach you humility.


  1. beez


    Just out of curiosity, did they have model scorpions in that house?

  2. Adoro te Devote

    Model scorpions! LOL!

    Jen, seriously, that’s EXACTLY the kind of thing I would do. And because I tend to do that kind of thing so often, I’ve learned to use a little humor to take the edge off of my embarassment. Usually with a comment along the lines of, “Well, I guess I’ll take this fake Shiraz over to that corner and drink it while I finish off my other foot.”


    You actually look like less of an ass if you laugh at yourself. (Um…NOT calling you an ass!)

    So what did you do when you stepped into that corner, all eyes on you, and you realized your mistake? How did you get out of it? How did people react?

    I might have to post one of my most embarassing moments. Everyone likes embarassing stories!

    Oh, and by the way…I love wine, too. I like the Yellow Tail Chard better than the Shiraz. If you haven’t, try the Alice White Shiraz…it’s surprisingly good for a next-to-bottom-shelf wine. ANd if you like Pinot Noir (I love it), since it tends to taste like a bad Cabernet when not done well, I’m very picky. So I would recommend Cambria (has that wonderful “burning leaves” flavor), King’s Estates, and for a lower-cost option, Eschelon. I actually tried the latter with great trepidation, and was shocked at how good it was.

    And cooking hint; a little good Pinot Noir is GREAT with a steak marinade I make. 🙂

    Why don’t you move up here to MN, get away from the scorpions, and we’ll have a blogger wine-and-cheese party, grill out, and enjoy what’s left of the summer. 🙂

  3. Kristen Laurence

    Aahh yes, there’s only one way God gives us humility when we ask for it! It’s probably a good idea to stay away from the public entirely when praying for this virtue! 🙂

    A great story, as always, Jen.

  4. Melanie B

    Too funny.

    This story is a perfect illustration of why I almost bit my tongue recently when, having lost my temper with Isabella, I was tempted to pray for patience. I don’t think I want any more trials in that area right now. (Of course, I think I’m being given it whether I want it or not!)

  5. wifeofaddict

    Ohmygosh Jen, I am so glad I wasn’t DRINKING wine while reading this!! This is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week! I can’t wait for Hubby to get home so he can read it…

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