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“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention” ~ James Thurber

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. . . a thought on humility . . .

What an inspiring message and reminder. The other night, we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as a family, and I was really impressed!  Apparently, it was adapted from a short story in 1939, by James Thurber, and there was also a movie made in 1947starring Danny Kaye.  I haven’t read the short story or seen the original film, but I’m definitely going to now after seeing the modern rendition starring Ben Stiller. Well, the line quoted was spoken at a pivotal moment in the film, and really pushed me to think more about this idea of beauty within.  If you haven’t seen the movie already, I will give you a little snapshot of the scene (*spoiler*, I guess):

Walter Mitty, played by Ben Stiller is finally face to face with the famed photographer Sean O’Connell, played by Sean Penn, whom he has been seeking the entire movie.  Sean O’Connell is awaiting the opportunity to catch a Snow Leopard on film.  He explains to Walter that the Snow Leopard is often called, “The Ghost Cat,” because it is so elusive.  

Finally a Snow Leopard comes into view, and instead of immediately taking the shot, Sean O’Connell sits there just marveling at the creature.  At the stunned look on Walter Mitty’s face, he says that when confronted with beauty, he purposes to enjoy just “being” in the moment, unobstructed by the lens of the camera.  

That’s when he says that line, I just can’t shake:

They don’t ask for attention, period.

Is it because they are so confident in their own being that they don’t need the attention?  Here Sean O’Connell was in this distant country seeking out that which was beautiful, yet not immediately obvious.  In other words, to see the beauty, he had to plan a trip, be patient, and he had to wait for it to appear.  There was no appointment. Now, translate this thought over into the human world, and one can see interesting parallels.

Have you ever met a person so Beautiful that you just have to wonder at them?  They make you wonder why the world hasn’t shined its light upon them to highlight them among the mundane.  What’s more, is this person is perfectly content with being “unnoticed.”  I have been privileged to know a few people like this in my life.  Their humility is astounding and quite inspiring. It’s like being around them, puts you in this surreal state of mind – – that you are in the presence of greatness – – and they would never consider themselves in this light. I guess it always confounds me, because I have tended toward the other end of the spectrum – pride.  

You know, sometimes when I’m blogging or writing a paper, I think, “Yeah, I could so be on The New York Times Best Seller list one day . . .” or when I’m in the shower singing, I think, “I could ROCK American Idol!” (Oh, the shame and embarrassment that would follow my family, if I pursued that one, LOL) . . . I have even imagined myself making it BIG with my Homemade Organic Body Care  products on a show like Shark Tank.  I’m just AWESOME like that!!

Wait . . . hold on . . . I just got a call . . . it was: REALITY.   Oh, Man!!!

Ok, so I’m not always thinking thoughts like that; I’m getting better over time, lol!   I’m not saying you shouldn’t have dreams to work toward . . . if you actually have talent 😉  I’m also not saying you shouldn’t be proud of yourself or your accomplishments.  But, I am saying that pride can get in the way of things sometimes, like the beauty in said “things.” What we see in this  quote is that the truly beautiful, seek not fame or notoriety.  They are content.  They’re content in their lives and in the ways they’re making a difference in the world.  Sometimes, despite their humility, fame reaches them.

Of course, the first person who comes to my mind is Mother Teresa.  She wasn’t seeking attention- her love and actions flowed from deeply within her, and people saw her BEAUTY, and people sought her out. In essence, BEAUTY attracts attention – and TRUE beauty doesn’t seek it out.  True Beauty doesn’t stay hidden forever, though.  Like the Snow Leopard, Mother Teresa (along with many other beautiful souls) was found out, and people flocked to her.  People want to be around Beauty. Coincidentally, or not (I don’t really believe in coincidences),  the very next morning after seeing the movie, I was reading, and came across this verse in Isaiah:

Isaiah 53:2b (HCSB)

. . . He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.

Isaiah 53, is absolutely one of my favorite chapters in the Old Testament.  The reason is because it is the clearest prophetic picture of the coming Christ I have ever seen.  It is said to have been written between 701 and 681 B.C.  So, it was written roughly 700 years before Christ was born, and predicts his coming, death, and saving grace with a vivid picture.

That’s why I love Isaiah 53! Anyway, this verse: Isaiah 53:2 is just another testament (perhaps the original testament) or proof, of the fact, or idea that beautiful things don’t seek attention. We are told Christ came as but a humble servant to His people.  He came in humility.  His birth, His position, and even in His appearance.  He wasn’t seeking attention.  He was truly beautiful.  The attention came to Him . . . sought Him out.  By outward appearance, He was average.  But, inwardly, He was anything but.

Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

An inspiring reminder for sure.  And a thought I will continue to reflect upon.

Versos en Español: Isaías 53:2 (NBLH), Isaías 53 (NBLH)


10 responses »

  1. So the movie was kid friendly? On Netflix/Amazon Prime type stuff? Do you recommend it? I read the story back in high school but don’t remember it much.

    Your lines about your “dreams/fantasies” cracked me up! I love your products, but I’ve never heard of that Shark Tank you mentioned! 🙂 You should be on there!

    Truly beautiful things/people don’t fade, do they? All the lines and wrinkles just make them more endearing and desired. And time and history do nothing but build them up.


    • Haha, glad I got a laugh!!

      Well, I will say the movie was “my kid” friendly. I’m not super conservative anymore but, I still am very watchful. I’m pretty sure there was some cursing, and mild action/ violence (mostly in the context of fantasy thoughts), but overall it had a great message!!

      So, I highly recommend it, but your younger girls may be too young to get full enjoyment out of it. It would be definitely worth it to preview it just so at least you can for sure watch it. We rented it from Redbox, so I’m not sure if it has been released on Netflix or Amazon yet.

      You’re so right! Time makes good things even better… and the truly beautiful is hard to ever forget.


  2. Julie,
    Hello! I just finished watching “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. What an amazing movie, and what a powerful story! I just Googled the quote (above) because it really resonated with me and that is how I stumbled upon your blog. Anyway, I just wanted to say “hello”, and to say thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I just subscribed and bookmarked your site; I’ll try to check back periodically. You asked, on your “About Me” page, for guests to check in with you, so that’s what I thought I’d do. Enjoy your weekend, and happy discoveries!
    Dan (from New Jersey)


    • Hey Dan! Thanks for stopping by! Your words have really brightened my day….I haven’t written anything in a few months, because I have been studying. But, I’m done with that for now, so I plan to get back into things here pretty soon 🙂 Thanks again for commenting and sharing your location! It’s always great to see where people are from and to realize we can connect with people all over the world! I hope to see ya around!


  3. Thank you Julie for expanding on this thought. The quote had stayed with me for a long time now. Every time I watch the movie, I get drawn in to the simple but vast emotion. It helped me reflect on my life as well as somehow taught me to be humble. Pride is good but too much of it leads to arrogance which I am trying hard to keep in check. Humility comes naturally to some people and I realized, I am not one among them. So learning, faltering and imbibing everyday to reach there.
    One day humility will be of second nature to me, I hope. Till then, will continue to reflect on my thoughts and actions.
    Thank you again for putting your thoughts out there. Hope to hear more from you in future.

    Sid (India)


    • Hi Sid!

      Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I feel the same way about pride and humility. Every time I think I have a handle on it though, I realize I still have a lot of work to do.

      Honestly, I don’t know if it will ever become truly second nature to me, but being reflective and cognizant of the issue has definitely helped me keep it in check — or, in the least, reminds me of what I’m aspiring to be and accomplish.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and commenting…it means a lot. Hopefully, I will find more time to write soon!
      – Julie


  4. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This one became one of the motto that I have written on my blog. The meaning gave me an inspiration upon which I counted.


  6. An awesome quote. Thanks for mentioning the short story.




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