Monday, February 24, 2014

Lord Baden-Powell Farewell Address

Robert Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army and the founder of the Boy Scout movement. From the little I've heard about him over the last few years, he is an inspiring figure. This letter was read in my church yesterday as part of someone's talk. It was a message that he wrote to the scouts and saved to be published after his death. I thought it was a relevant message for anyone, scout or not.:

Dear Scouts - if you have ever seen the play 'Peter Pan' you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possible, when the time came for him to die, he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye.

Remember, it is the last time you will ever hear from me, so think it over. I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy life too.

I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence.   One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man.

Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.

But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. 'Be Prepared' in this way, to live happy and to die happy - stick to your Scout Promise always - even after you have ceased to be a boy - and God help you to do it.

Your friend,


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Quasimodo Eye

In my 10th grade year of High School, I developed a mysterious and strange eye itch. It was a very specific itch that warned me my eye lid would quickly evolve into a puffy, swollen, embarrassment. Sometimes the upper lid, sometimes the lower lid, sometimes both- and if I was really lucky- both eyes. I affectionately referred to it as my "Quasimodo eye", because it was that horrendous. As luck would have it, the Quasimodo eye would most often rear its ugly head after lunch. I would then be forced to finish the rest of my school day looking at the ground and avoiding eye contact with boys I had crushes on between classes. It even almost ruined picture day, but held off till after my picture was taken to fully develop (A trained eye can pick out the infant stages in my picture).

Despite much investigation, my parents and I were never able to figure out what triggered the Quasimodo eye. We could not find a link to a single food, chemical, or cosmetic. We would follow a theory down a path, only for it to evaporate and leave us at a dead end. There was enough inconsistency in when it would develop, that we finally gave up and chalked it up to mystery. Maybe it was a pollen? In that case, there was nothing we could really do about it.

And then the Quasimodo eye gradually faded from my life. It made a few appearances in college and has since been MIA. It was truly a lesson in humility. Maybe it was divinely sent to protect me from the advances of dangerous males? I may never know. But as self conscious as I was of my Quasimodo eye in High School (aka: the World to my teenage mind), I can feel grateful that my Quasimodo eye has not forced itself to literally be seen by the whole world. 

Bob Costas, I feel your pain. 

Now I want you to spend a day anchoring with a mouth guard that keeps your teeth from moving after you've had your braces removed but your retainer has not been made yet... A scarring story for another day.