Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Secret Among Friends

Life at school can be and usually is a soap opera of sorts that might stagger those whose lives have long departed the halls of ivy. This is about some of my favorite kids from April 22, 2010.
Sometimes when a student is absent, I ask them if they caught up on the soap operas on the day off from school. I don't think kids watch the soaps like they used to; too much other stuff going on. I'm almost ashamed to admit it but in college, a bunch of guys who lived in the same apartments, including me, got addicted to watching One Life To Live. Please don't ask me why but it seemed important at the time. I still watch a soap opera unfold one hundred eighty days per year, though. It's called a school hallway. Some are long running and some are only mini-series. Most, not surprisingly, involve boys and girls. The cast is usually oblivious to the entertainment value they provide. Most of us are watched but we rarely consider the observers.

Last week, right next to my classroom door, I witnessed a vignette of teenage life. Let me introduce the cast which has given permission for the retelling of their story. Roxanna is a vivacious senior and one of my former basketball players. Her locker is by my room so I watch her interact between classes with her significant other, Stefan, a junior who is a very good baseball player and a student in my sixth period class. They've been liking each other for a number of weeks now, formalizing their relationship by walking to class together and holding hands while loitering at Roxanna's locker. It's not my job to rate them but I think they're a good high school couple. The shelf life of teenage romance is pretty short so they have accomplished some admirable longevity.

Enter Amberly whose locker is right across the hall from Roxanna's. A junior cheerleader and as far out on the extrovert scale as a human can get on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Amberly is also one of my favorite students; NEVER a dull moment. While Roxanna and Stefan were awaiting their next class, Amberly bounds across the hallway and tells the young man, ''Let's do our secret handshake!'' They proceeded to do a polished fifteen second hand slapping, elbow knocking, finger snapping routine that would make any professional choreographer proud. But what really fascinated me was Roxanna's reaction. She looked at Stefan with bewilderment and a dash of hurt and asked, "You have a secret handshake with Amberly?" Being a guy, I guess I didn't see what the big deal was, at least to Roxanna. I think Stefan was baffled as I was and Amberly just laughed it off. They were all good friends before and since but I kid Roxanna by asking her if she wants to see my secret handshake with every person who passes us in the hall. She's pretty tolerant of her coach. In fact, Roxanna and Amberly were excited when I told them I was going to write about them and they graciously gave their blessing. I probably should have taken their group picture so you could put a name with the face.

In wondering why the handshake thing might be upsetting to Roxanna, I came to the conclusion that she believed, at least initially, that the handshake should belong to her and her significant other. It implied, at least until she thought about it, that her boyfriend and friend should not share anything she did not know about. I don't think Roxanna sat down and pondered the situation- she just processed and rightly concluded it wasn't a big deal. Do you catch yourself doing that in your relationship with the Lord? Do we find ourselves sharing things with the world that should be between ourselves and our Savior? Do we pass it off as harmless flirting with our surroundings and don't perceive it as a threat to our souls? Amberly is no threat to Roxanna but Satan wants our souls. Oh, he is innocuous and innocent acting but the part of us that should belong solely to God, we are willing to share slightly with The Enemy in a little choreographed flirtation with sin. We know that full grown sin leads to spiritual death and it has to begin somewhere. And maybe, just maybe, it starts with our own secret handshake.

Applicable quote of the day:
"More history is made by secret handshakes that by battles, bills, and proclamations.''
John Barth

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Warren Baldwin said...

Cool story and good application.


Life is like a soap opera at times
only it's not refined to a couple of days a week it's every day.
I enoyed your post as always.

Have a pleasant week-end.

The Homesteading Apartment said...

So good! Man, it's been years since processing like a teenager has occurred, but brought back memories (:

I will say that sharing things with the world that should be between ourselves and our Savior is such a temptation. When we have those aches or hurts, they tend to be first shared with family or friends instead of Him. Or what about the small and big decisions of life...sometimes the first response is to get counsel from others, but not Him. And He is the only one that can offer true perspective...true counsel.

Such a good post!

Anonymous said...


CeeGee said...

I enjoy your blogs. This one especially was very interesting.

Cynthia Reese said...

Interesting ... though I admit I never could understand the fascination with soaps.

A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

I loved watching the episode you so vividly played out in this blog. Ahh.. high school years, and the drama it brings! I remember when. But it's been quite a few years ago.

One thing you wrote especially stood out to me. You said, "Amberly is no threat to Roxanna but Satan wants our souls." Sadly, indeed, he does! And he'll go to just about any extreme to get it.... but in the most subtle of ways. Yes, like you said, sometimes it starts with a handshake.

Another reason your sentence stood out so blaringly loud to me is because of where my morning was spent. I went to speak at a men's prison. First time. I usually just do bible studies at prisons only with women. Needless to say, this was a bit different. The name of the prison I went to today is called Staton. But when I was on the phone talking to my friend about it she thought I said "Satan." She was horrified at the thought! And wondered why in the world I would go? BUT... when I corrected her "Satan" to "Staton" it hit me. Satan is just one letter away from Staton. Amazingly, that one letter away just happens to be a "T" which looks like a cross! Hmmmm... that, too, to me is another incredible visual lesson that speaks volumes out loud without having to say. You know?

I saw you on my page. I thought I'd come visit you and take a look at yours. I'm glad I did. For already I have been blessed!

Teach on, new friend! It sounds to me like you're doing a good job. May God use you greatly in His Kingdom as He continues to get His work done.