Thursday, February 6, 2014

The One with the Four-letter Word

The other day I said a four-letter word
 and I said it loud.

Normally, if I stubbed my toe in my room or lost my keys in the dark parking lot, it wouldn't be a problem. After all, if no one was around to hear me, did I really say it? But this time I was not alone, not even a little bit.

In fact, I was in the middle of a group of our students, some strangers, and a mother, all in line for tickets to the Alchesay High School basketball game.

It was not my finest moment, and it was probably the closest I have ever gotten to seeing things happen in slow motion. One minute I was standing there with students and co-workers and the next moment a rogue skateboard had slammed into my ankle. The world slowed down to the speed of snail as my head turned to see what had happened and the dreaded word began to leave my lips.

"Shhhh.....iiiiiii......"

I'm telling you, I've never pronounced all the letters so articulately and so loudly. As the last "t" left my lips I looked up to see everyone staring at me and the oh-so-high-school "Oooooooooo!!!!" resonating from 10 middle school and high school mouths.

"You said a cuss word!!" They exclaimed as the mother looked at me disapprovingly. I seriously hoped that my ankle was broken as I walked into the building ashamed and praying for a brain-washing to randomly occur amongst all that had witnessed my moment of weakness.

Like I said, it was not my finest moment.

__________

When working with teenagers in ministry, little slip-ups like this can resound across the hills. You never live down the one time you said "the S word," and the tale turns to urban legend as generations are told of the fated moment. So I gave up cuss words on the spot (that is until I spilt boiling water on my hand today. I am a work in progress.) and declared that I would, from that moment forward, be a better person.

And really, that is all we can do, right? We can declare before God and our peers that each day we will try to be the best version of ourselves. We surely cannot control the rogue skateboards or unexpected bruises that a day might bring, but what we can control is who we are. I can wake up each morning putting my left best foot forward and preparing my heart, soul, and mind to be the best version of myself. And maybe, equipped with that mindset and a handful of grace, I can make it through each day leaving a different kind of legacy.

After all, I would really like to be remembered as the hilarious, kind, dancing youth leader instead. 

No comments:

Post a Comment