Friday, September 12

A Strange Light

I spend a good bit of my time in public lately.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love pulling on a pair of sweatpants and hiding under my comforter for hours at a time, but since I've started dual enrolling, I have to go places and interact with people.
And even though for the most part I "fit in" (whatever that means) fairly well, I still kind of feel like this happens when I'm walking around:
(Only I don't look quite so fantastically beautiful.)
It's not because I sometimes spontaneously make spastic movements because I'm excited about something.
It's not because I look funny. (Usually.)
It's not even because I have this inexorable urge to break into the abandoned coffee shop at school and wander around dramatically singing "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables."
Don't judge.
I have this one teacher at school who is very interested in the fact that I happen to be a dual enrolled student who is also homeschooled. He told me he's always been a little skeptical about homeschooling in general, so naturally I felt a little pressure from the get-go to prove to him that whatever negative thoughts he had about homeschoolers weren't true, at least not for me.
So when we had our first test on Monday, my normal love for tests of all shapes and sizes was slightly tainted with anxiety. It was pretty typical as far as tests go, and as far as testing goes at this particular college, it was a pretty typical day. There were a couple of people who finished in five minutes, which used to impress me but I now know generally means they did quite poorly indeed. I finished in about twenty-five minutes, but I knew I wouldn't get picked up until later and I was quite comfortable, so I pretended to check my work for fifteen minutes longer.
I felt like I probably did okay on the test, but I wasn't sure, and I was worried.
Thusly, come the next class period, I was quite relieved when I walked into the classroom and the teacher said, "Here comes my star student!" I got the highest grade in the class, and I was pleased.

However, when the teacher was going over the test, I noticed one question that I had missed that he had not marked incorrect.
Oh, great.
My grade was already further away from a perfect score than I was happy about. To speak up and point out to the teacher that he had given me too high a grade would be stupid. I was at the top and I was happy about it and I did NOT want that to go away.
But on the other hand, honesty is the best policy, yes?
Nobody should have to deal with moral dilemmas at 9:45 in the morning.
Nevertheless, deal with it I did. I raised my hand and from my seat in the back row (I came in late on the first day and the teacher made us stay in whatever seat we had chosen) called out, "I think I missed one and you didn't take off for it."
Every head in the classroom turned around and stared at me.
The teacher is somewhat hard of hearing, so he asked me to repeat myself. The other students all looked at me, their confused expressions screaming, "What is wrong with you? SHUT UP."
I repeated myself and the professor got a little twinkle in his eye. He turned to one of the students in the front row and asked what they thought he should do. She said that since it was his mistake, she thought I should get to keep my original score, to which the professor replied that he decidedly disagreed.
He started walking down the aisle and I put on a brave face. I had literally just given away two precious points from my test score, and I felt like a tender part of me was about to have a giant red X scratched across it. But when the teacher handed back my paper a few moments later, instead of a glaring, blood-red -2, I saw a cheery, scarlet +2 written next to the question.
Now this teacher is a Genuine Antique Person, and he has a ball cap to prove it. I thought maybe he had just misunderstood me, but all I could get out was a confused "Umm..."
The teacher, talking to the whole class, said that because he's eighty years old and has been working at the school for ten years, he can basically do whatever he wants because the school isn't going to do anything to him. Apparently he also believes that honesty is the best policy, so in a case like mine, if the student doesn't try to hide the mistake, he rewards their honesty.
So that worked out.
Except that here I am, less than a month into the semester and already everyone in that class thinks I'm a little strange.
But that's okay. I didn't know that the teacher was going to reward me. I just knew this: Even though I don't loudly announce to the whole world that I'm a Christian, if I don't represent that in my actions, people definitely will never have a chance to see Christ through me.
So if looking a little strange to others means maintaining a good testimony, I'd say that's a pretty good tradeoff.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:4-5)
People may not always understand the difference, but they will always notice it.
Be the light.
Be strange.

1 comment:

  1. This was a fantastic story!! Good for you. :D Integrity is priceless, and now you're known for yours.