Three Moments

Lucida Console – Three moments from my life that define something about me:

     The kid on the bus was showing off again. This time he had a knife in backpack. It wasn’t a plain one either, sort of daggar-like really, but what does a first-grader know of these things? It was wrong, against the rules to bring something like that to school. I said so. His big sister said that he had brought cigarettes, lighters, ammunition, and even a gun to school before and that I should just ignore it. I could not. I brought it to one of the teachers attention. I don’t know why I said the kid had found it under the merry-go-round, probably to lighten his punishment. I remember some teachers went and searched under it though. Perhaps the kid was punished harshly enough by his father. From that school I also remember my first good friend, we had met on the playground and I kept him company. The other kids thought the braces on his legs were funny. I ignored them. There was another kid whose story was much less happy. About five years later the news stations talked about how the police had raided his home after he had been absent for half the year. He was found to have been abused harshly and had died as a result. I remember one day how he walked into school, his legs all rubbery, barely able to support him. Had I only known…

I guess it was written in me to follow the rules and enforce them only when others’ disobedience was a clear threat to everybody’s safety. Was I a tattle-tale? Maybe back then, today it would be an honorable trait to turn in a student who had brought weapons to school. So many of us think that we have to forge relationships with everybody we want to see come to Christ. Let me warn you, there is no guarantee they have tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Just tell them and let God do the rest. I don’t remember the why of it, but during that summer my family moved and it became neccessary to attend a new school in that area. I don’t remember much of that school, but I don’t remember liking it either. I grew up with those students who wounded me from the second to seventh grades.

     The head cheerleader had never liked me. Perhaps it was because I was smaller than her so effortlessly. Perhaps because there was a sign on me, it marked me as reserved for something greater. Perhaps the fault wasn’t with me but with her perception that she was somehow lesser so she had to fight with me to knock me down. I don’t know. I do know that she would often cry because of a deep pain. Several months ago, we had hired her father, a stonemason, to help put windows in our brick walls. Not long afterwards, her father committed suicide. We may be enemies, but that’s no reason to take advantage of a person in pain. She made my life miserable after that, but I couldn’t be mean for the sake of meanness. She played with my friends once insisting that I couldn’t play with them because she was. She said I couldn’t be her friend while I had those other friends. Still, I never forgot the time when a handful of girls seemed to tell everybody that she was crying in the bathroom. I went to her. I asked if she was okay. Stupid question. She would never be okay. I told her I was sorry for her loss. It surprised her, after all, nobody other than her closest friends were there for her at this time, and while some girls were spreading the word how sad she was, her enemy came to her and expressed her condolences. Then again, the third-grade mind doesn’t reflect on these things as an adult’s and our feud would continue another day…

I don’t know why the Lord raises up enemies. Even King David had a fair share where the Bible states that the Lord did raise up enemies for him. The question is not the who or the why, but how you become a better person in the dealing with your enemies. Perhaps, as I had never gave up hoping, the hatred and the hatched will be buried for an even greater friendship. Of course, this first enemy wasn’t my last, but she was my best.

     By the time I reached the sixth grade I had been just about everybody’s friend and ex-friend. This I’ve talked about in detail in my past posts. Now that the school had opened its newly constructed playground everybody seemed to find a place to play. Some would walk around the track. Some would play football, use the swingsets and other toys. There was one toy they’d all avoid. The slide. It was my haunting ground. From up there I could tell you who was doing what and how they had stabbed me in the back. Sometimes kids would come ask the use of the slide, but they seemed to stay away unless they wanted to tease me. I remember it being warm, summer was going to begin soon. The wind picked up sand and carried it across the playground. The kids would rub at their eyes to get it out so they could continue playing. The slide protected me from it. I was thinking, never a wise thing to do in that school. My thoughts asked me if I would be better off not existing, not living. Then a light in those darkest of thoughts brought up a concern. My family, my church family, too. They’d need me. Don’t tell me that God doesn’t exist and doesn’t interact with us. That’s where He put me on the path to becoming His…

I always considered my salvation experience backwards. This is where I met God in my life, but it would be a long time before I would be baptized or pray the sinner’s prayer (in that order.) Then I read about the narrow gate. You have to go through the gate to get on the road. Think of it as my standing before the gate deciding if I want to be let in. These are the stories that stand out the most in my fragile memory. It’s a blessing to forget, who would want to remember every unruly classmate breaking the rules? Every wound of an enemy? Every failing of a friend? I do wish I’d remember the good things more. Things probably weren’t as bad as all that, sometimes they were worse, but the times when they were my friends weren’t that bad. Now I understand, when God put my family on my heart he put my future church family there too. There are innumerable Christians out there who really need us. I couldn’t have understood these things then.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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