If anyone knows me well, they will tell you if it can happen, it’ll happen to me. I often do things on the fly, without thinking.
I was at Fort Leonard Wood Military Base. Fort Leonard Wood is a Multi-disciplinary base, where Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and many foreign military came to learn specific skills.
I was troubleshooting some equipment in one of the Chapels on the base. This chapel was used by the Army and the Marines for their services. The Army had already had their morning services and I was told I have one hour to get in the Chapel and do whatever I needed to do.
There was a piece of equipment in the kitchen that was supposed to be telling a piece of equipment way on the otherside of the chappel what kind of day it was having. For that to happen, a wire was run from the kitchen clear across the chapel to the other side of the building. The nature of this wire is, it is intolerant of being bent to tightly, or of having anything sitting on it at all. If either of these things is true, the wire is not able to carry the signal that the Kitchen Device was sending .
I had one hour to get it fixed. The wire in question was running on top of a steel beam 2 feet above a 20 foot tall chapel ceiling. The problem was someone had laid a heavy board over the wire. By this time I had 15 minutes before the Marines were marched in by their Drill Instructor for the Marines Services.
I had a 15 foot ladder. I am a little ove 5’9″. If I stood on the very top of the ladder and hopped, I could reach the steel beam, pull myself up and fix the problem. My hope was the wire wasn’t crushed too badly and all I had to do was move the heavy board off the wire. I moved the board. The wire looked fine (It eventually passed the signals test.)
This is where life got interesting for me. I had to get back down from the rafter to the top of the ladder.
I forgot to mention that, ever since I turned 37, I began fighting a weight problem. I was over 40 by this time. And heavy. Getting up to the beam was very hard to do, but I did it. It never occurred to me how difficult it would be to get back down. I decided to hang by my hands off the beam right above the top of the ladder and drop down to the top of the ladder. It was, afterall, only about a foot space between the bottoms of my boots to the top of the ladder. (OK, all you OSHA safety nuts on Linkedin, get a grip. Breathe into a paper bag, you’ll be just fine in a jiffy.)
The good news about my weight is, I had recently lost about 20 pounds. My pants were nice and loose as opposed to being so tight I couldn’t breathe. This was good for climbing up to the rafters. This is not so good when getting back down.
When I let go of the rafter and landed solidly on the top of the ladder, my pants and underwear fell down around my boots. To say I was in an awkward state is to completely understate the situation.
I bent over to pull my pants back up just as the Marines were being escorted into the chapel. I was moonng the Marines. I didn’t know this unitl I heard the Drill Instructor bark, “Eyes Front!, One sound from anyone, and I’ll wreck your whole day.” Things got really quiet as the Chaplain and the Sergeant rounded my ladder to look up at me.
If ever I longed for the rapture, it was right then.
I did my best to spin around so I wouldn’t be mooning the Marines only to find myself mooning a portrait of Jesus that was hanging on the wall of the Chapel.
I was done for.
The Chaplain politely cleared his throat while the Sergeant stared daggers at me, and a bunch of raw recruits were doing all they could not to explode with laughter.
I recovered what was left of my dignity and got out of the chapel as fast as I could. I heard the Chaplain opening the service with, “All things bright and beautiful, all things great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”
Why did I just tell you one of the most embarasing moments of my life? (Trust me, hat’s not the only one, and hardly the most embarrasing!).
God tends to choose the last person we would chose to do the very thing no one else will do. What really matters isn’t how together you are, or intelligent, or beautiful, or any of that nonsense. What matters is you love the Lord and are willing and available to take up your cross and follow him.
Don’t worry how you look to others, but have the heart to reach out to all the rest of the messy people in this world. They need you.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8
Let’s be about it.
David G. Perkins