Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lord Of The (Lost) Ring

One of my favorite middle school basketball stories! This is from January 9, 2013.
We had our first basketball practice in twenty-four days yesterday and it showed. We ran a lot, shot a lot, and played some. To say we were ragged is to disparage the word ragged but it's what you expect with kids this age. We went hard but it's going to take some time. Fortunately, we don't play this week so we get several practices to knock the rust off. Like I've said before, I really love this bunch of girls and it was so good to see them for the first time since mid-December. As soon as I walked into the gym on Tuesday, Zoee came up to me. One of our sixth grade players, Zoee told me her New Year's resolution was to read the Bible all the way through with the One Year Bible I gave the girls for Christmas and she was a perfect seven days for seven days! That's one of the perks of teaching in a Christian school, being able to share your faith openly with your players. Let me rephrase that last line- encouraged to share your faith openly with your players. It's a perk you don't have to report to the IRS!

After we had been practicing, i.e., running for awhile, I called the kids together to let them catch their breath. We have a no jewelry policy for safety reasons and I noticed Janice was wearing a ring. Earlier, Lizeth had been spotted with earrings in so Janice wasn't alone. As we often do, Janice gave the ring to me and I put it in my pocket for safe keeping. This happens almost weekly with any number of the girls- remember they are middle schoolers- and I always give the jewelry back at the end of practice. Except, yesterday, I didn't. I remembered during chapel so I went and checked my practice shorts- nothing. I walked over to Janice's group and asked if maybe I had given it back- I hadn't. After chapel, I retraced my steps- I was in about six different places between the end of practice at 8:15 and the start of chapel at 8:40- still nothing. At lunch, I asked all the other players if they had seen me take it out of my pocket but no luck. So I sat down with Janice at her lunch table and broke the bad news. I profusely apologized and told her I would pay for it. She could tell I was upset and tried to minimize the situation. I asked if it was special and she told me it was a gift from her father which multiplied my feelings of guilt. I told her I would keep looking and I did but to no avail.

I have a planning period seventh period which is from 1:49 to 2:35. I finally got around to praying about the lost ring and sent out an e-mail to all the teachers explaining the situation. Before I even had the chance to check replies, I walked into the upper school office where our receptionist, Kelly Braun, held up a ring which she had on her finger and asked if it was the one. I wasn't sure but took it and found Janice in her art class. It was! I don't know who came closer to crying, Janice or me. I felt a huge wave of relief sweep over me and it had nothing to do with money. When talking to Janice at lunch, I told her how she had entrusted the ring to me and I failed her. Like I said previously, she tried to make me feel better but the truth is I had messed up. But, the Lord looks after us. One of our coaches, Kenneth Okwuonu, had been walking down the hall outside the locker room where I dress and spotted the ring on the floor. He turned it in to Kelly who gave it to me who returned it to Janice. And we lived happily ever after.

You know, the whole problem could have been solved before 9 AM if had simply sent that e-mail immediately instead of trying to find Janice's ring myself. And why did I wait so long to pray about the ring? In some areas, I'm really good about reaching out for assistance but these tend to be parts of my life where I have no skill, like doing my taxes or computer issues. It didn't help that I blamed myself for the problem so I wanted to fix it myself. And so I end up ignoring the scriptures I teach to kids like Janice on a daily basis. I made an announcement this morning in practice of a policy change: no more giving Coach Hawley your jewelry for safe keeping, especially since it isn't safe. Oh well- now the only thing I have to worry about losing is our next game!
God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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