Imagine a group of eighth graders all ticked off at a teacher and plotting to teach her a lesson. She’s been mean, rude, yelling at us every minute, and everyone’s had it with this witch in an elective class, choir. Seriously how important is choir? And this is the largest group ever assembled because we were good last year. Let’s have a mutiny! We all decide we’re going to drop out of the class and teach her a lesson. All of us!
I’m the quiet kid in the group that never raises a nerve. This rebellion idea sounds really good. Singing the same line over and over again, that is dumb and irritating. The next morning I march straight down to the principal’s office and drop the class and take another elective. I’m so excited I have the guts to join in the overthrow and cannot wait to see the look on her face when NO ONE shows up in class. We will teach her a lesson, won’t we.
I snuck down to the classroom early to talk to all my buddies and girlfriends who said they’d do the same thing. We all wanted to see what she would do when she realizes she ran us all off. To my dismay, one by one they came to class just like usual. Well yeah, I figured he wouldn’t do it, wimp. Her, she’s Mrs. goody. All 120 or so of the class was filing in. I was afraid to say anything and acted like all was normal and pretended to be looking for something in my bag outside the door. Surely I wasn’t in a time warp was I? Those conversations took place didn’t they? Why is my face on fire? I feel a panic attack a coming and it felt like I was about to pass out.
Finally I saw Dick, the leader of the plan. No doubt, he’s here to make a speech and get everyone to get up and walk out. This is the moment, phew.
‘Hey Dick, you here to see her face when we all walk out’?
He looks at me with a look of, what? I’m sure at that moment he was thinking you are an idiot? He laughs nervously, but then boldly he spins the top, as surely ‘he was only joking’, even though he was not at the time. Everyone wanted out!
‘Dick, what happened to the plan’? ‘What plan’? ‘You know, the one for all of us to drop this class’? He laughs and looks at the others in the group I thought I was a part of, part of the cool guys. They all laugh nervously. Then Dick says, ‘come on Joe let’s go, you are so funny’. He laughs louder. They all turn around and walk in the room shaking their heads laughing. I laugh back and stumbled with ‘just a minute, I forgot something’. When they had passed, I turned the other way to head to my newly scheduled class, head hanging down. What in the world just happened? This can’t be?
Later on I found everyone was told by their Mother’s that they could not drop the class or they completely chickened out. I was the only one that went through with the plan. What an idiot I thought to myself. Then my embarrassment turned to anger. How could I be so dumb? How could everyone not be behind this plan that wasn’t even mine. I’ll never do something like that again, ever! And I’ll teach those guys a lesson too, I’m not adding back the class to be with those supposed friends.
Even though I wanted to go back I told myself, not now, I’m already out there. I couldn’t decide whether to crawl in a hole, fake being sick for a while, or shoot myself. I decided to be a man and stick with the decision.
No one ever brought it up again other than me on a few occasions to ask them why the plan fell apart. Nobody wanted to admit that they didn’t have the guts to carry out the scheme. And nobody said a word even in a whisper, like good job for sticking with the plan, to me. I wish they at least would have said you are an idiot for doing that. It seemed mostly, I am fairly certain, not a person cared 2 seconds after walking in that room. Failed plans apparently are best to not be discussed, especially if you let someone else jump off the cliff alone and no followers leap thereafter.
But, I do have these dueling doubts in my head. Maybe that day, I gained the respect of people? Or maybe I was just a fool for standing alone?
I know one thing, I gained a little respect for myself that day. I not only didn’t die in that internal panic attack, I survived and came out stronger.
Douglas MacArthur said, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
Fast forward 40+ years and here I write a crazy blog. The key component to the whole theme is in the tab titled ‘Do You Dare’. Yet three weeks later after 653 views as of this moment, the stats button shows it has only been read (maybe, it just counts clicks) 8 times. And I know 4 of those 8 came from my own family. Yet it is included in every post.
Those fears I fight, those doubts that I duel, they grow weaker. Peace truly comes from knowing you are doing what you know you are to do, even though none may follow.
Ok, this red line thing down below, takes you to another page. You might want to hit the mouse button clicky thing and read it, but hey, it won’t kill me if you don’t. Really it won’t. I have a few more stories like the one above, some day when I get the guts, I’ll be telling those too. All for the hope that anyone like this average Joe can get over those fears that force you to conform. It feels pretty good to be honest.
A simple song to ponder: Though none go with me
And a simple quote:
Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going. – Charles Stanley