The Single Moment of Truth
By John Hunt
We always met on the practice field behind the junior high school during lunch hour. Never less than three, usually there was about ten of us, but sometimes there was as many as twenty or thirty. On this particular day, there were only a few of us present, and the situation was extremely intense for me.
We were standing beside the frozen creek while isolated specks of snow spit down from the sky. It seemed colder than ever, although thatís probably just how I remember it. Paul reached into his coat pocket and nonchalantly pulled out a reefer, as if that were a perfectly natural thing to do. As he and another boy lit the marijuana cigarette, I looked away. Here was my best friend, doing something that I knew was completely wrong Ö and not just wrong, but an absolute taboo. Paul offered me a toke. The day grew unbearably cold.
I canít remember the first time my father ever scolded me. Nor do I recall a single day where my challenges to the boundaries that my parents imposed did not go unanswered. I sometimes received swift retribution for my disobedience, while other times my discipline was much more purposeful. Once, when entrusted to put money in the offering plate at church, I tried to keep some of it, concealing it in my hand. My hide was sore for several days. On another occasion, I stole a paring knife from the kitchen drawer to whittle wood shavings. I was grounded for longer than I can remember. Then another day, an uttered curse word resulted in the first of many mouthfuls of soap in my lifetime.
At church, I learned that there are rules that the Lord put in place to govern our lives. Disobey these rules and there most certainly would be consequences. I learned this quickly in my youth. Believe me, my parents were often the exacters of Godís judgment.
I was called to the front desk of the school after lunch hour had ended. Entering the foreboding wooden double doors, I saw Paul and the other boy sitting in the waiting area outside of the principalís office with their heads hanging low, averting direct eye contact with anyone. As I too sat down in one of the uncomfortable hard chairs, I wondered just why we were there, although I had a pretty good idea.
Stealing a glance at Paul, who then looked back at me, I held my hands out as if to say, "What gives?" Paul reciprocated with the universal sign for taking a toke, followed by a swipe of his hand across his throat, signifying his impending fate. Soon, he met with the principal and I was then sent back to class.
Someone had reported the three of us to the principalís office that day for using drugs. Fortunately for me, I didnít partake in the marijuana cigarette. I had been told by my parents that it was wrong and more importantly, that I would face grave consequences if I ever got caught doing it. The culmination of a lifetime of discipline had come down to that single moment of truth, and thankfully, I made the right choice. I was exonerated. Thank you Mom and Dad Ö and Almighty God.
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him." Proverbs 13:24
John Hunt is a freelance author and writer of the novel, In the Image of the Beast (awaiting publication). His website can be viewed at www.imageofthebeast.net.
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