I often lose things, especially my keys. My basketball team this year had several young ladies who have the same struggle. Last Tuesday, Roseline and her teammates were in my classroom first period as we were having a special chapel for our 8th graders and the gym was being set up. After chapel, Roseline came into my room panicked because she could not find her phone.... but it was nowhere in sight. After school, she came back with a friend, convinced it must be in Room 258. Her friend called Roseline's cell ....and we heard a very very slight vibrating sound but we could not trace it. We kept trying and in five minutes, we found it in my storage cabinet, in a stack of tests that she had sorted for me at 7:45 AM! I'm not even that bad! This entry about my penchant for loss is from January 20, 2006.
It was inevitable. For the millionth time, I locked my keys in the car when I got home last night. It wasn't late, around 7 pm, but I was tired and hungry and it had been a long day. I gave a spare key to a neighbor named Jeannette but she moved out months ago. I have extra keys in my apartment but my apartment key was on the same ring. I keep a key in my desk drawer at school but my keys to the building and my classroom were also locked in my Toyota. There are several fellow Westbury Christian School teachers who live in the same complex- that was my best option. I got no response knocking on the first two doors. I began looking for Josh Bontrager's apartment. I had been there once but our complex is like a maze and I was guessing. After one incorrect knocking, I located him. Josh kindly drove me to school, let me in the building and my classroom, and even was patient enough to make a stop at the Burger King drive-thru for me. All in all, it took about an hour. I survived with only a change of dinner plans but it was one of those frustrations we deal with on a daily basis. To make it worse, it was my fault and totally preventable.
Isn't it funny how a small incident has ripple effects? One mistake leads to a second problem which blossoms into third, fourth, and fifth situations. It would be so easy if we could only squelch it at the outset. Carelessness in our words and actions, even unintended, can lead to escalation of anger which can damage multiple lives. James tells us that desire gives birth to sin and sin, in an amazing oxymoron, gives birth to death. Our handling of the dilemma of evil that bombards us on a daily basis is to get rid of it at the starting line. I have good self discipline in some areas but I have no self control when it comes to candy so I never buy it. My problem comes at Christmas when students kindly shower me with gifts of chocolate. If I eat the first one, I won't stop until the box is empty. John Lee gave me a box of Godiva Chocolates during finals in December. As soon as I ate the first one, it was all over and there would be no turning back. I can see how alcoholics can never afford the first drink when maintaining sobriety! We must stay away from what tempts us if it can have mastery in our lives. Our weakness could be television, tobacco, the Internet, or another person. We're told there is a way out of temptation but we often choose not to employ that exit strategy. The best self control is to never put ourselves in a position where we have to use it. Four times, Paul uses the term 'flee' in reference to handling various temptations and sins. Godiva Chocolate doesn't cause me to sin but there are other temptations in my life that lure me identically. What was Paul's advice? Run away, get away, stay away! With his admonition in mind, I am declaring my apartment a CFZ (Chocolate Free Zone). Well, at least until next Christmas!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
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