commentary part 35
This past summer, I was a counselor at my church’s English Ministry youth retreat. We reserved a camp site that was in its peak of bee season. Because of the bees, I witnessed more bee sting incidents during our field games than I have in my entire life.
One of our field games was to cover our team leader’s face with shaving cream. With the rest of the team standing at a distance of two feet, we were to try to spit as many Kix cereal puffs at his face. The team with the most puffs on the shaving cream would be the winner.
At one point during the game, my team was running out of cereal. I ran to Steven with the cereal box who filled my cupped hands with Kix. When I ran back to my team with cereal in my hands, most of my team was freaking out about all the bees that were attacking them. 12-year-old Josh who was in front of me turned and ran headfirst into my face.
This incident made me think of all the many kinds of sports equipment that have hit my face over past years. There have been basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, softballs, volleyballs, rubber balls, and tennis balls. And I’m not talking about getting hit on the head, I’ve gotten hit in the face.
However, this was the first time I’ve ever had a human skull run into my face.
At first, I thought I was fine. I mean, I’ve had years of experience with this getting-hit-in-the-face sort of thing. I just walked away and covered my face since it wasn’t a big deal. But the fact that I couldn’t breathe and I could feel my upper lip swelling up began to concern me. Medic Loice (who is also my cousin!) came up to me and made me show her my lip. She told me I was bleeding!
Throughout the whole incident, I found it really hard to talk, even though I thought I remained reasonably calm. Luckily, my teeth were fine, but I still wonder what happened to all the cereal that I was carrying before I got hit…
Getting hit in the face perhaps just reaffirmed something I was reminded of during the retreat, and that is the vulnerability and evanescence of the human condition.
We act as if we are invincible so often that I think we’re pulled under the delusion that time will stand still for us, if we will it. We assume security and power that we certainly do not have. We have a hard enough time controlling our words, yet we try to control everything else in our lives! It really doesn’t make sense!
Since I am so frail, I find things that I can control (e.g. my attitude and my outlook on life) so much more valuable. Once I realize that it is out of my control, things become so much more endurable. There is more than just me, more than just what I can do. But I will do everything I can to do what is right.
It sounds so downcast and so limiting, but it really isn't! We are all just a part of a plan. The plan. And that is such a pleasant thing to consider.
I am so pathetically and beautifully human. And I love how fleeting everything is, as if life is a swift and pungent dream taking us to a greater home.