Work Your Way from the Outside

So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” [Mark 7:2]

Mom tried to save me. For the most part, she did an admirable job.

In high school, I was a nerd and geek before those terms were popular. As the guy with black-rimmed glasses, I felt more comfortable reading books than relating to people. But occasionally, if only because of expectations or longing (or both), I attempted to escape my geekdom. One event that created tension between risky longing and safe habits involved my high school’s Senior Ball. To go or not to go became my Hamlet-inspired query. Wasn’t I obligated to make an appearance?

Question: how many high school dances had I attended?

Answer: 0.

You read that last sentence correctly . . . zero, nada, none, zilch, to emphasize the factual, actual reality. Continue reading →

Words to Live By

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 – The 14th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, August 30, 2015

“You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans . . .” (Mark 7:8)

High school. Circa, senior year. Note the black-rimmed glasses on geek...
High school. Circa, senior year. Note the geeky black-rimmed glasses . . .

My mother saved me.

I was a geek in high school, a guy with black-rimmed glasses more comfortable reading books than relating to people. Shy. Introverted. But occasionally, because of expectations or longing or both, I attempted to escape my geekishness. Take, for example, my high school’s Senior Ball. The “big dance” was a formal affair. I’d have to buy a corsage for a date. I’d have to . . . wait! Worse! First, I had to ask someone to the Ball in order to have a date.

Still, I thought I should attend.

Question: So, Larry how many dances did you go to in high school?

Answer: 0.

Yeah, you read the last sentence correctly. The actual, factual reality of my high school dance experience (until Senior Ball) was zero, nada, none, zilch.

Did I know how to dance? Nope. Had I ever worn a tuxedo? Nope. Would I have to ask (beg, barter, plead) to use my father’s car? Yup. Could I muster the courage to ask a girl to be my date? I recall staring at the dreaded phone, rehearsing questions while my throat filled with cotton and my armpits flooded with sweat.

Call . . . don’t call. Call now . . . call later. Continue reading →