This life is a funny thing. I can live as as saint, feed the homeless, develop the longer lasting light bulb and cure Aids. But if I streak naked down main street liquored up and jump in the town fountain, all I will be remembered for will be as the fat hairy guy that lost a bet and wound up sitting in the county lock down.
Why am I pondering this? I am reminded by my own short comings and poor decisions from the past. I am glad that most people who knew from not so long ago are not an everyday part of my life. Not because of the embarrassment, but because I know forgiveness is not a part of their vocabulary or lifestyle. Besides, there is only so much groveling and apologizing one can do. Life is hard, but it is much harder when you know that when you fall, there will be no one there to help you up.
It was one of the most important lessons of my life. Only now has it truly become apparent of what the lesson was.
Most kids I have worked with have this crazy back and forth dance they do with whoever the care giver is. One minute they love you, the next they are pouring hair removal cream all over your cat. I have had them help me wash my car and then after an hours worth of male bonding and a high polished wax job, they scratch thier initials into the hood.
I would like to say my response in those situations was textbook. But it wasn’t. With the cat, I laughed and grounded them for like, a weekend (Have you ever seen a bald cat- it’s hilarious). With the car, I threw the bucket across the field, grumbled several un-holy words under my breath and walked off from the teenager, least I wipe the smirk from his face with my Ninja like skills. I’m not proud of the response, but what concerned me most is the grudge I carried. I also forgot where it is I came from and how I have done the same Reactive Attachment Disorder dance with not only those close to me, but also with Christ. The grudge never went away until I was able to humble myself and forgive them- completely, without constantly reminding them of the mistake.
Most kids I have worked with get close and then try to see if you will quite on them, just like everyone else in this world has. They will push the absolute limits of your patience just to prove your love and so called “Faith” is phony. Especially when you tell them God can, will and has forgiven all their sins.
This past weekend I had some nails driven into the tires on my motorcycle, probably by a young man from another cottage that I caught smoking in a campus parking lot. I know this kid is going through a lot of issues at the moment and is angry not at me, but the entire world. Today as I was paying a three hundred dollar tire bill I was reminded at all my youthful indiscretions and acting out. For some reason today it just hit hard that Christ has forgiven me for things that I could never forgive some else for doing. Somehow a couple of flat tires just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Right now I’m wondering in what way I can best serve this kid and let him know when you fall, God will always be there, ready to dust you off and help get you back on track if your only willing to listen.
Thankfully I have a God who has been there when I stumbled. Hopefully he will continue to remind me of that every time I see one of the kids do the same. -Launch