Loud Antics. Quiet Love

I think my body is fighting off a cold. My throat is sore, my nose is running, and my temperature is running higher than usual. My educator's immunity wears off on Friday afternoons. During the closing prayer in chapel today, I sneezed twice. What a day this was.

Today, with the help of my colleagues, Nate McFarland and Jen Lynch, and my favorite GGCA sixth grader, Colby Dunbar, I performed the last original Gary skit of the school year. I was a bit concerned that I might get emotional during the performance, but I was able to concentrate on my character and not allow myself to think of the significance of what we were doing. It was a great blessing for me to be in one more skit with my friends and my nephew, who played a new boy who moved into Gary's neighborhood just as Gary was getting ready to move to Korea with his family to be missionaries. Colby's character was named Garrett, and it turns out that he not only looked similar to Gary, but also had some of Gary's characteristics, notably, a silly phobia involving marshmallows. 

Gary is famous for his fear of gummy worms which developed when he was young after his brother Haha told him they were really baby anacondas in some sort of suspended animation. It turned out that Garrett's fear of marshmallows is the result of his sister telling him that they are "pee pills for boys." Garrett, whose family calls him Gary for short, happened to drink a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows before bedtime and then wet the bed the same night, so now he believes his sister's whopper and quakes at the sight of marshmallows. In today's skit, Garrett was pelted with a marshmallow by Gary's sister Ace, and immediately felt the urge to pee and ran off with Gary to find a bathroom. Colby did a nice job with the part.

Before the marshmallow incident, Gary had prayed to ask God why he had to move to the other side of the world and why God had made him so different from everyone else, why God did not make him special like others. God answered Gary by sending along Garrett, almost a Gary clone, and it dawned on Gary that God had made him special. He just hadn't realized it until he saw himself in another person. Gary ended up giving Garrett his famous yellow Camp Life tee shirt with the name GARY on the back, telling him to "keep the faith." This was a reference to the verse of the week, 2 Timothy 4:7 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Like Gary, I have never seen myself as anyone special even though I recognize that I have gifts and abilities. I just do what I do and if somehow God uses it to bless people, then hallelujah. I think there are lots of ordinary people like me out there serving in the body of Christ, many who receive less recognition than I do since they are not the principal of a Christian school or in some other high profile position. They don't see themselves as anyone special, but they are in somebody's eyes, probably lots of sombodies' eyes, because they are living out the life of Christ and sharing his love in their extraordinary ordinary lives. It's been my hope that the students of GGCA might learn that you don't have to be the smartest, the funniest, or the sportiest to be someone special, to be worthy of love and affection. Even plain old, weird Gary, as he would describe himself, was lovable and found a place in many hearts. We are made in God's image and that makes us worthy of love.

I don't know what God has planned for me to do in Korea, but I'm pretty sure that I know who He has planned for me to be, only I hope to be a lot better me there, by His grace. I will never forget what a youth pastor told me when I was a teenager in Lenox. While speaking about the gifts of God, he looked around the room where a bunch of us were gathered, and he told some of us what he thought our gifts were. He looked at me and said, "Dan has the gift of quiet love." I hope that through the overly loud antics of Gary, the students of GGCA have been quietly loved. And I hope that I have fought a good fight here my last twenty-five years, that I have finished well this leg of my race, and that I have kept the faith.

There are still five days left of school before summer vacation, and four weeks of work remain before I hand over the reins to Pastor Barry Quirk. Pray that I get healthy so that I can enjoy my students and my staff in the time that remains.

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