Pastor's Blog

The Humility of Giraffes Posted 6.04.2015

On Wednesday night I spent a wonderful hour with wonderful students.  They had prepared a bunch 24  questions for The Pastor.  Of course, I was stumped right out of the gate.  After that question, I was fearful about what was to come.  What could strike such fear in me?  It was a simple question:  What was your most embarrassing moment in life?


Now, let’s be honest.  I’m no Ken Garland who can remember every moment in life and retell it in such a riveting way that we are mesmerized.  That’s not me.  So I reviewed my life.  It didn’t take long –the spaces were blank right then.


The crowd helped me remember one incident (sometimes it’s not so comforting to have a child in the audience).  I told something about running into a parked car with my bike on the way to school while waving good-by to mom.  No one was around, so it really was all that embarrassing.  But I was done with that question.


But after a couple of hours of reflection, a better story emerged.  Well, a couple.  So for our amazing students I share what is another top-ten embarrassing moment.  A couple of years ago, while on safari in Uganda, I was taking a tour of the gift shop.  They have really nice giraffe figurines at that shop.  Well, they used to at least.  That year there were a ton of them.  Maybe even a hundred, just begging to be purchased.


I perused the lot, but in setting one down that looked interesting, something unusual for me happened (don’t believe that for a second, by the way).  I just happened to accidently bump the giraffe next to the one I was returning.  Giraffes and dominoes have a lot in common.


For the next thirty seconds, giraffes fell one after another.  One even slipped off the shelf and struck the shelf below – which started a second chain reaction.  And then a third.  Soon, there weren’t many giraffes on four legs – in the entire store.


I just stood there.  Frozen.  Really?  Did I do that?  Did I make that much noise?  I did.  It was embarrassing (especially since the walls are glass and open to the lobby).  I was very embarrassed.  The clerk quickly came up and let me know she would stand them all up again.  Of course, by then I had started to pick them up and if I can recall, I made an even bigger mess.


I slunk out of there as quickly as possible.  I haven’t ever seen so many giraffes on display at the shop since.  I will revisit that moment again this summer.  Painfully.


But these things happen to me – and to all of us – to keep us humble.  I need a lot of humility I guess.  We aren’t perfect.  We aren’t even close.  So laugh a little.  Bow before a perfect God.  Be amazed at Him, not ourselves.  We do dumb things.  Get over it.  And yourself.


And if you’re lucky, maybe someone will remind me of another embarrassing moment for next week’s Back Page.

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