I Believe in… Grace
The stadium lights flickered on as the sun made its descent behind the mountains. The marching band stomped up the stadium stairs, ready and eager for the new football season. Well, everyone except me. Not being the most graceful person in the world, I had fallen down some stairs earlier that week and hurt my back. Not the best thing to do when you have to carry a thirty – five pound drum. The cheerleaders made their rounds, putting up red and blue balloons, and one of them waved as I winced in pain and set my drum up. Pretty soon the game started. The football players marched out, and the game commenced. The first quarter passed, and then the second. It was time to go out there and show the world what we had been practicing for months and months. The hot summer rehearsals, the six – thirty in the morning rehearsals, the mosquito – ridden night rehearsals. Everybody thought we were insane. And, perhaps we were. And still are.
Anyway, we marched onto the field, and I could tell this was a mistake. My back hurt already, and we hadn’t even started our show yet. I started to worry. Somehow I made it through most of the first movement, and then it happened. My bass drum line dashed forwards, then backwards, then to the left, and… down I went. Stupid shoelaces. As I lay on the ground, I heard frantic whispers. Jake, my section leader, mouthed an “Are you all right?” and I decided to get up.
When marching with a bass drum, it is imperative to know precisely where you go because you cannot see in front of you. And so it was with the guy in line behind me, who, not seeing me right smack in front of him, hit me full on with his drum. I went flying the other direction, drum first into the ground. My back went into spasms, and I couldn’t breathe. I simply lay there. The bright lights were blinding, and I could hear the crowd murmuring about the “kid who fell down.” There I lay for my entire school to see, the single object left on the field. And not just my school, but also the other team’s school. I found it especially funny when the football medic personnel came over and asked, “Are you ok?”
“Yes, I’m perfectly fine. I’m lying here for the fun of it because I need the attention.” They took that as a no. And as I squinted from the blinding lights, I laughed. Hysterically. Partly from the embarrassment, partly from the shock, but mostly I laughed at myself. Who else could be in such a predicament? Eventually they carted me off in a golf cart, and I spent the next week flat on me back.
When I went back to school, it was torture.
“Hey! You’re the kid who held up the game!”
“Like, Oh my gosh, can you believe you fell? I would never do that!”
I lived it down eventually, and even though it was pretty awful I maintained a good attitude about it. And that is why I believe in grace. No, not the pink ribbon ballerina grace, but the way you accept your circumstances. For most of us, life is one big gigantic challenge followed by one big gigantic lesson. I found that grace is how you accept the good luck and the bad luck, the sound and the silence, the darkness and the light.
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