January 10, 2017, Shock Theater
Back in the day of two, five, seven, and nine, television was much simpler. We had CBS, NBC, ABC, and WGN. Roy Rogers, Have Gun Will Travel, American Bandstand with Dick Clark, and the Mickey Mouse Club were all great. My favorite however, happened on Friday night, at 10:30, on channel 9 - it was “Shock Theater”. Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula, the Werewolf, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon were all there. School nights my day ended before the nightly news, but Friday was different.
Eating warm popcorn with real melted butter, drinking red Kool Aid, sitting with my older sister, and being intentionally scared half to death, was a big thing for an eleven year old. After all, where else but in your own home could you experience real monsters terrorizing the local town folks in black and white.
Looking back I see being allowed to stay up late on Friday watching TV was a turning point in my life. No, it don’t mean I was considered an adult or that I got an eagle feather for being a warrior. It just meant that in the eyes of my parents I wasn’t a child anymore. The privileges that came with staying up late on Friday, included the privileges of taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn.
Over the years as life gave rise to new responsibilities and privileges, I began to understand these times as “rites of passage”. Each one having a profound impact on my life. A list of those times would include the birth of my first child (Christina), my first case as a lawyer (a DWI), and my first funeral as the pastor of a church (Mr. Brown). Each marked a time when my awareness of the number of people effected by my life - grew substantially.
I share what happened the first time I saw my first born, Christina. It was through the newborn nursery window at the hospital (fathers in the delivery room came later). My smile went all the way to heaven, and then I was struck by reality. For the first time I understood the huge responsibility that came with this new life. While I was standing there looking at this tiny child, I openly accepted this new responsibility and a “rite of passage” happened. I left the hospital that day a different man. I didn’t see it coming, but it sure did happen.
Not all of my “rites of passage” ended with a victory dance. Some were pretty painful and some pretty sweet. Their common thread – a growing awareness of how my choices impact the lives of others.
My moral - If you care about others, always give your best because it does make a difference.