Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Standing For What You Believe In

    So, "The Sword of Senack" was just released.  If you'd like more info about the kindle fire giveaway, writing/art contest or the book--which is on sale for 99 cents--please visit yesterday's post HERE or the tabs on this page.


    Now, onto the post of the day.
    It was a tough year for me.  We'd recently moved from a small town to the big city.  I had no idea one place could hold so many buildings or people. Instead of tractors, I saw fancy cars. I mean seriously, we just had a Wendy's and a McDonald's where I grew up.  The city seemed amazing to a nine-year-old like me.  But despite that awesomeness, when I went to the first day of school, I found the bathroom and cried before school started.  I know it was a dumb thing to do, but I was scared AND a pansy.  
    After calming down, I told myself to be brave.  I walked from the stall, wearing my brightest--fake--smile, and a winning look.  I would make some friends that day, or die trying. Sure I was a religious minority and a kid that past summer couldn't play with me because we didn't believe the same way. I could still be tough like this girl--just several years older! 
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    Anyway, I walked with a strut, that probably was overdone, and I waved to everyone! Too bad I had no idea what waited in the future.
    We got to choose our seats, so I sat by the obviously popular kids. They just looked at me--and I waved. "I'm Elisa.  I moved here from a small town. Can you believe I got to eat at Taco Bell for the first time yesterday!"
    The main girl scooted to the side of her seat and said, "I can believe it." I bet she hated small towns, tacos AND tractors! I wanted to smooth things over--tell her how I'd already been rock climbing, how I could hike with the best of them and show those kids neat things! But then the teacher began rambling and no one could move. He talked about introductions and names. He made jokes that I politely laughed at--while smiling at the popular kids. It wasn't until he started talking about religion that my jaw dropped.
    "There are people in other states," he said, "that live in a faraway place called the Bible Belt. Those people believe strange things. They aren't Christians in the same sense that we are. I'd like to call them 'Born Again Crickets' because it's witty and they're like noisy bugs."
    Number one, I was raised as a Born Again Christian! Number two, you don't CLAIM to being witty.
    I felt like a gunman stood in the room. I could just invision that gunner saying, "If you believe in Jesus, stand up so I can shoot your brains out."  I'd have to stand or go to Hell.
    My knees knocked together for about two seconds, but time was wasting. God watched me and something had to be done.  At that moment, it wasn't just to save my soul.  It was to stand for what's right.  That man--that teacher--had made fun of me and that would not do. My path felt suddenly clear.  Being the young martyr I was always meant to be, I stood . . . and I DID NOT WAVE to the teacher.
    "Sir," I cleared my throat. "I don't like what you said because I . . . am a Born Again Cricket."
    Everyone gasped.  The kids looked from me to the teacher, then a few of them bust up laughing.  I was an instant hero--and the teacher didn't like me. I knew I'd have to fight for everything in that class. But you know what, the other kids thought I was pretty neat.     
    So, that's the day I realized it's good to stand up for what you believe in. Because being a Martyr isn't always bad. It can even buy you a ticket to Heaven in some countries.

    I was thinking about this because Melynda and I are going to talk at a few school this next month.  I can't tell this story--for obvious reasons--but it did remind me of something I can teach these kids.  When I'm talking about "The Sword of Senack," how to write, the power of believing in themselves etc.  I thought it might also be great to tell them to stand up for what they believe in.  Because really, there's nothing as cool as doing what's right.