“When will my reflection show, who I am inside?”
I get so caught up in my own pride sometimes that I cannot see past my own nose. My little world that revolves around me and my self-absorbed, self-motivated, me, me, me, me, me-ness! How in the world can I begin to exemplify what I teach in my classroom everyday if I cannot regroup with enough dignity and pride-swallowing tact to consider myself even the most remote example to my students? I can’t.
On the flip-side…we’re all sinners. We make mistakes. In our efforts to extend ourselves as mentors, leaders..heck, human beings…we think so far outside of the box, we forget about what is INSIDE the box…which is what’s really important, right?
Enough speaking in generalities. So I got my hand slapped by my boss today. I did something stupid…I knew it…and I feel very bad. I showed an excerpt from an R-Rated movie (Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”) in my H.S. Drama class before getting a parent permission slip signed by parents granting permission to do so. I usually pass these things out at the beginning of the year, and just keep them on file. I didn’t this time, and due to a time crunch, and a unaccommodating absence (I took a sick day), the film was presented, and the students saw Sasha Baron Conen’s bloody demise. Now, here’s the thing…I’m pretty positive that the majority of the class already saw the film…and I’m not so worried about any of them moving to London, grabbing a leather strop, and beginning a barber’s profession….but I DID know that I should have gotten the permission slip signed first.
Why did I show the film? I guess I don’t have a clear answer. Perhaps in the “big picture” of what happens at Faith Lutheran, I saw this as a small “oversight.” Perhaps, I thought no one would ever know. Perhaps…I didn’t care. I’m uncertain. I do know this…the ultimate reason for that decision was based on a luke warm form of conceit. Whatever the reason…whatever the motivation…I didn’t care enough for a policy I knew about to take a harder, more complicated road. That’s lazy, selfish and conceited.
I’m mad at myself for it. I contacted the concerned parent. I emailed all of the parents in both H.S. Drama classes to apologize and offer an explanation. I even forwarded correspondence to my boss and apologized to him. I suppose this all falls under the category of “do now…ask for forgiveness later.” Dang it.
We all know right from wrong. So why do we so often choose wrong? Why is that little shoulder devil’s voice so loud? I wonder if my inner monologue is getting drowned out by what I WANT to do, and the secular world that so willingly encourages me to do so. Ah….now I’m skirting blame. No, no…this is something that I’m toiling over…dealing with and sorry for. But that doesn’t right the wrong. Every tiff I engage my wife in usually ends with her saying “I’m sorry doesn’t necessarily erase the past.” As crazy as that sometimes makes me…she’s right. She’s right.
I was also angry last Saturday because tonight was the first Preview night for the musical I’m in, “Beauty and the Beast” with Signature Productions. Saturday they blocked the curtain call. I found myself quite upset about where my character was placed in the order for bows. (I know…”How arrogant!” I’m with ya.) I actually pouted. I would not say a word during the blocking of the curtain call…and did my job, but afterward, inside I felt I deserved better. (Even typing that makes me ashamed.)
I look back at that moment last Saturday and I can barely fathom how I could have been so childish…so selfish…so unappreciative. This role and opportunity is a privilege. The costume was made for me…the lights are adjusted to highlight a scene featuring me…the program has my name in it…and hours of time, talent and effort were afforded to me is unimaginable. How dare I snuff out all of those efforts for the sake of a post-show lineup! I DO get a curtain call…that’s more than some people get! My sincerest apologies to my fellow actors/directors. I love you all, appreciate you all…and would never take a second of recognition away from any of you. I promise you that is NOT why I do what I do…and I am ashamed I thought that way. Hindsight is 20/20. I guess I need to get my eyes checked.
Changing subjects…I found a box of Jello Pudding Pops in the ice cream aisle yesterday. I freaked out. I haven’t seen these puppies in years! Seriously…if you haven’t tried these things….they’re amazing! I unwrapped the creamy treat, and took a bite. Nostalgia melted on my tongue and I was in chocolate-covered heaven! What a treat, and surprise.
Another unexpected surprise…I received a phone call from MIKE LOGAN. Mike is my best friend from high school. I haven’t spoken to him in 8 years. Why? I’m not sure…we kinda parted and went our separate ways. There wasn’t much explanation…and when we talked, we both felt terrible about the past and looked forward to the future. I have only good memories about Mike. I remember our misadventures, our trials, and the differences in our personalities that evolved into a deep respect of the others philosophies. I missed him and I didn’t realize just how much until we talked again. I’m glad he took the initiative to call me. He didn’t have to.
I suppose life is kinda funny in the sense that when you are burdened by a hefty agenda or when you are star-struck by your status or personal goals…you always have the opportunity to make GOOD. The option is there. Sometimes making GOOD means dealing with the bad…and who wants to do that, right? But, nobody said life was going to be easy. But, around every situation…good or bad…there lies that hidden surprise. That “something” that you weren’t expecting. That maybe small…maybe big, life-reward, that you are presented without expectation.
Call it a silly Pudding Pop…or a rekindled friendship……maybe it’s more like, a true understanding of WHAT you did wrong, and the opportunity to reflect on it….whatever it is, these “surprises” are part of your walk with Christ. These moments are what shapes and builds your character, and it’s always what you DO with these moments that makes you WHO you are.
I cannot help but feel badly about my mistakes the last couple of days. Perhaps I’m brooding. But, “sorry” doesn’t erase the past (whether it was yesterday or 8 years ago)…all you can do is look forward with anticipation. Re-thinking that lesson, re-approaching that curtain call, re-starting where your friendship left off, or re-visiting a yummy-ness of a chocolaty past….all are gifts from God. These reflections are what you can grab hold of and run with, inside or outside of the box…if you’re willing.
“And we, who with the unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3.18