Gretchen Rubin once said, “Things that go wrong often make the best memories.” I am here to testify to the validity of that statement, and to appease certain cousins of mine who want to see certain stories appear on the blog. If they want the incriminating evidence on the world wide web, who am I to deny them the notoriety?
My cousins were kind enough to help me pack up my apartment to move to Denver. When I say, “kind,” I do so with the naivety of a young cousin who was about to get punked. To show my appreciation for their help, I went to get lunch for everybody. You would think family members could be trusted to remain unsupervised in your home. You would be wrong. Knowing I had hired fire fighters to load the U-haul for me, these cousins of mine thought it would be funny to label some of the larger boxes as though they contained items I did not then, nor will I ever, own :
- live raccoons
- porn collection
I was unaware these labels existed until the firefighters were carrying them out to the truck, with amused smirks on their faces. After attempting to explain the prank, I decided it would best to not protest too much. If my face didn’t communicate my innocence, my words surely would not.
After I had arrived and settled into my new home, I drafted a fictional account of my travels and sent it to my cousins, detailing how I had been stopped at various state borders and the contents of the U-haul examined before I was taken in for questioning. Later, I was able to enjoy the joke with them when new friends needed moving boxes and I shared… all of them. The young pastor did not find it as humorous as my cousins did.
It was Mother’s Day weekend and Mom had come to town for a visit. Her visit happened to overlap with some other friends’ vacation, so my best friend and I decided to join efforts and take everyone for a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. I grew up in Texas and had only been living in Colorado for a few months. May in Texas is basically pre-summer; May in Colorado is post-winter. The Rocky Mountains had yet to thaw and most of the trails were snow packed or icy. Mom wasn’t sure about her footing, but she gave it a go, learning to step in the less trodden snow to get a better grip. It was the perfect plan, until…
Mom stepped off the trail and into a snow hole. She couldn’t stop laughing long enough to get herself out, even when I tried to help. What could have been a sprained ankle and difficult (to say the least) hike back down the mountain turned out to be the highlight of the hike.
It was the only year I was in charge of the youth ski trip. We had already had someone break a wrist, caterers fail, miscommunication about what time ski lessons were to begin (It wasn’t actually miscommunication. I told them the wrong time. Oops.) and a couple of kids who were feeling under the weather. Wellllllll, those kids were samples of foreshadowing.
If memory serves (and it might not. There is plenty I’m sure I blocked out.) 47 out of the 63 people on the trip developed a stomach virus. Most of them began showing symptoms right before we were supposed to get on the charter bus back to Texas… from Colorado… and we had already checked out of our rooms. We transformed the lobby of the condos into what looked like a first-aid station in a war zone. Students and chaperones alike were waiting in lines in the lobby restrooms for their chance to use a toilet… or a sink… whichever happened to come available first.
I specifically remember that those in sick bay were watching Remember the Titans. In one scene, the coach (played by Denzel Washington) nervously vomits before a big game. There was a collective groan in the room during that scene, as though the power of suggestion just might be too much to handle under the current circumstances. I steered clear of the room as much as possible, partially because I had other tasks to accomplish and partly because I’m squeamish. (I had already held the hair of one young lady while she puked that morning. Pretty sure that was my quota for the decade.)
So, I spent my time returning skis and snowboards; purchasing water, Sprite, saltines and Emitrol; and convincing the aid station at the base of the slopes to give me all the barf bags they could spare. They were willing to comply once I explained how long we would be on a bus with only one bathroom (16 hours, in case you were wondering).
The ability to look back on times that were unpleasant or uncomfortable and laugh is simply proof of God’s ability to redeem. He made light out of nothing, people out of dust and good out of bad. It’s a good thing, too. We all “act a fool” sometimes. He’s prepared.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God,righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31