Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bullies, banana peels and bellylaughs


“Bullies brandish their swords, pull back on their bows with a flourish. They’re out to beat up on the harmless, or mug that nice man out walking his dog. A banana peel lands them flat on their faces slapstick figures in a moral circus.” Psalm 37:14-15, The Message

It was a great idea, so Lisa and I thought, to get a nice vase of flowers for our fourth grade teacher who was leaving at semester.  We figured out what  roses, her favorite flower, would cost.  We decided if we collected 50 cents from most of the kids in the classroom we could afford it. 

We divided up the class and talked to each member on the playground. Everyone was in, or so we thought.

Two of the popular kids said they were in but they didn’t like the fact that two very unpopular kids were in charge. 

“Look, you guys don’t know what you’re doing,” Henry said to us on the playground.  “Audrey and I will take over the collection.”

“Yeah, you are just too stupid to know how to do this right,” Audrey chimed in.

“We know what we’re doing,” Lisa said in our defense.  “We’ve planned it all so far.”

“Her favorite flower is the rose and we want to get her a vase of roses,” I explained.

“Potted plants are always nicer,” Audrey scoffed.  “You don’t even know how to dress right. How could you know what kind of flowers to get her?  Definitely, a potted plant.”

They ran off talking hurriedly to each class member.  We knew we were sunk. They were the popular kids, after all. By the end of recess those who told us they would be bringing us money the next day backed out.

We were crushed. What were we to do with the little amount we had collected so far?  We didn’t have rich parents like the others did. We couldn’t make up the difference.  Hence, we did the next best thing, we cried.

Coming in from recess, the teacher questioned us and slowly the truth of the matter came out.  We cried even more because now she knew. She dried our tears and told us she was proud of us. She asked us to go the bathroom and wash our faces.

We’re not sure what she said to the class but the next day, all of the kids who had initially agreed with our plan gave us their money, except Henry and Audrey. Some even gave us more.

We had enough to get a nice vase of roses and a corsage.  The other two brought in a single pot with a marigold in it.

There are those who want their way in all things, no matter what.  They are the bullies of the world.  If you drive a car, you see them every day when you are going just a tad under the speed limit.  They give you looks and gestures that could kill, then honk, swearve around you, cut back in front of you quickly, gun their engines and take off at least 20 miles over the speed limit.

Of course, we don’t wish evil on those who seem bent on doing the wrong thing. But don’t these verses come to mind when down the road, you see them pulled over by a highway patrolman?

At that point, it does make the frustrations of the moment before seem to fade in a long and hearty time of laughter.  I can just picture God up in heaven joining in with a big belly laugh of His own.

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