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What’s your excuse?

It was my third year in college and I was late completing an assignment for one of my classes. Although late assignments were not usual for me, this one was different. There was a class presentation to be given as well. I wrote the last few pages after returning from my night job at 4am.

I had convinced the janitor to open the typing classroom a bit early so I began typing at about 6am. As I typed on that old manual typewriter, the ringing of the bell after each line (remember those?) gave me a jolt to move forward and finish. There was a sense of accomplishment after each bell.

After yanking the last sheet of paper out of the typewriter, I was headed out to the store to get copies made. As you would normally expect, there was a line of people waiting to make copies. Not having slept for almost two days and tired from working all night, my head was pounding.

Nothing had gone into my stomach that day except a few cups of black coffee after returning from work. All of this compounded to create a tense situation for me as I waited my turn in line. Just a few more minutes for that class to begin. I began to think: “If this line doesn’t move quicker, I’ll certainly be late.”

At that point I noticed a sign on the wall: “A LACK OF PLANNING ON YOUR PART DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY ON OUR PART.” There were just two more people in front of me when I read that sign. By that time I was furious. I began to wonder why these people were so rude in putting up such a sign. In the back of my mind I knew there was much reality to what the sign says, but my frustration was turning to a rage by then.

Finally when it was my turn to make copies, I was able to subdue my emotions. With a clear “attitude” to my voice I said “Oh by the way I like your sign.” The man just looked at me with a knowing smile on his face. I am sure he has seen plenty of students in a similar predicament. Each one had their story of why they were here at the last minute.

I was able to keep my composure up to a certain extent. Just a few grunts and moans came out while I collated and stapled the papers. I still felt that this man should not have put up that sign. I was furious while I drove back to the campus.

Although there was no outburst that would cause a scene, it was clear that I had no control of my emotions. My constant struggle had begun to take its toll on me.

In the Bible, Job was a man who expressed his struggles quite clearly. He said: “As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.” (Job 27:2–6)

Job’s condition was clear. He felt that God had taken away his right, and as a result, his soul was bitter. In spite of all this, he made a conscious decision to keep his integrity. He never used his situation as a excuse for loose lips or any other form of reactions.

Have you had an “excuse” situation?

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