Her name was Cindy and she didn’t know my name. Probably was unaware that I was on the planet. My skating ability was about average. I could play tag and keep up with the pack but couldn’t do anything cool like skate backwards or glide around on one leg or anything impressive. From my years of playing army and wanting to be a stuntman I had mastered the art of the front flip. Not somersault or forward roll but a straight out front flip. Any fool could stick the landing so I had modified my technique so that I landed flat on my back and I was always the designated guy to “step on the land mine” when we played army. This would be how I would catch her attention. Coming out of the curve and approaching the seating area I executed the flying landmine technique —Having failed to compensate for the added height of the carpet covered concrete barrier separating the carpet covered mushrooms from the hardwood floor. Everything went flawless with the exception that I had the lingering feeling that my shoulder hadn’t followed me. Cindy never even realized I had been there much less nearly killed myself in an attempt to gain her notice, attention or approval. Ala I Kings 18:29…”there was no voice, no one answered, no one paid attention.” I did get a trip to the emergency room via Greg Wilder and his really cool car and a shoulder brace to wear to school.
Thirty- six years later I was standing in a gymnasium in Birmingham, AL explaining to a group of high school students how to swing on a rope. I reached above my head and grabbed the rope I’d suspended from the ceiling that morning and leaned into it. My feet were still the ground. It felt like a small mammal wriggled its way through my shoulder and then the pain started. Long story short the long head of the tendon on my right bicep separated and curled into my upper arm. Fast-forward to the Orthopedic Center where my doctor explained that it was all those pushups and pull ups that caused this. Well not really. He said, “You’ve had a previous shoulder injury that created a bone spur on your rotator cuff and over the years or doing pushups and pull ups you basically sawed it in half.” I protested. The only shoulder injury I’ve ever had was in high school…never mind.” I couldn’t live with the humiliation. Turns out it was a partial tear and three weeks later on a Sunday night in the Atlanta airport it finished tearing. Maybe I’ll post a picture of my blackened and bruised arm on Facebook and someone in the class of ’81 who still knows Cindy will show it to her.
Who’d have thought that such a little thing thirty- six years ago would have consequences three and half decades later? By the time you read this the MRI will have told me if I’m going to have surgery or not.
Actions have consequences. Even benign, trivial, seemingly meaningless choices create ripples that oscillate into our futures. Sometimes it’s not even about right and wrong. Sometimes it’s about smart or dumb. Paul talks about the liberty we have as Christians and whether things are lawful, expedient, helpful or beneficial (I Cor. 6:12 ff and I Cor. 10:23 ff).
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