Tony Barker was the smartest sixth grader in the country and happened to be in my class at school. I remember when he brought War and Peace to class for his “free reading” selection. No teacher was qualified to teach him math, so he taught the class. At the age of twelve he aspired to become a neurosurgeon. He became one of the youngest tenured professors at the University of Colorado. But what I most vividly remember, the memory that is first in line for recall is…
In sixth grade Tony Barker wet his pants.
This past Sunday at The Refuge I shared a significant flaw in my character, a specific horrible moment that could have ruined multiple lives. It is probably not my worst moment, but it is certainly up there as something I would much rather forget. Now that I have said it out loud, publicly, it will now be a part of the mosaic that influences how I am known and remembered. Yes, how I am choosing to live now matters, but nothing will erase the memory of my bad choices. Hard to believe? What comes to mind with this name?
A single act, whether stupid, evil, or silly influences our memory so dramatically it can overshadow all our other accomplishments. This is why it is always vital to remember the ellipsis.
The ellipsis (aka dot.dot.dot….) is the literary equivalent of Grace. We live in a world of periods. End of story. That is it, you are what you were, I have all the information I need. It is a life without grace. And I am fairly used to living that way. I forget that our lives are constantly being written, yes significant chapters have occurred and some of those chapters include some pretty ugly mistakes, but maybe the climax is yet to come?
The power of the gospel is that my story is constantly changing. It is my job to believe each person I meet, especially those who are part of the rag-tag community we call The Refuge, are not yet who they one day will be. Even more difficult is to believe it about me. I’m learning to believe my life is more like an ellipsis…the story isn’t finished. I must live this by not hiding, but trusting you will see me slowly become more of who I was made to be. I cannot end my loneliness if I am hiding in the shadows of someone’s distorted admiration.
I am …
Who knows where or how it will end?