Sunday, July 27, 2008

"I fear mediocrity more than death"

We recited this over and over on the first day of a life changing 10th grade. Benjamin Mendez, the 10th grade English teacher who just about wrote this in blood, would turn out to be both the best and the most dreaded teacher I ever had. He attended our wedding, in his white tuxedo, the designated pusher (you know in case I decided to walk backwards). He convinced me that my homesickness was only temporary and I wanted my Georgia Tech degree more than anything. He met and approved of Jamil. He was there when we were spent at a very tough and sketchy Forensics speech competition and I got my proud 6th or 8th place. I don't remember what place it was, but I remember he was there, just like he was there to convince me to stick in Forensics after I was edged out the previous year by some other strange circumstances. He was the first to hug me when I finished my speech as class Valedictorian. He was waiting at the bottom of the steps.

He is still alive somewhere in PR. It used to be that I could say he lived in my mind every time this phrase would sneak out into my thoughts. I fear mediocrity more than death... actually, I used to fear mediocrity more than death. Some days, and more frequently now that I work for THE MAN, I am not so sure. Somewhere in time, my fear of mediocrity has turned from fear to acceptance and I find myself resting in the easeness of a life that is content with what a minimum effort for what I need provides.

This needs to change. In fact, this change is starting now. Not only does Ben frown upon mediocrity but God does too. He has asked that everything we do should be done as if unto the Lord. How could I possibly offer mediocrity to a God who gave His only begotten Son for me? So what if my mediocrity goes by unnoticed, what if THE MAN, my friends, others are easily impressed? That is no excuse for me to settle at that level, because I do not do everything I do for anyone and I am not called to do it as if it was to THE MAN or as if it was to my friends or as if it was to others. I am called to do my duties as if onto the Lord.

Ben is no God, but God who provided me with Ben is a powerful God who works in mysterious ways, including excentric writings on a 10th grade English classroom wall at the hand of an unforgettable teacher. And so it is, that Ben was meant to have a one year impact in my life but instead has impacted my life in just about every season, even when it has been over a year since we last spoke. God bless Ben, God bless all the Ben's around the world and God continue to use Ben's to bless us and make us Ben's to bless others.

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