Some vulnerability here:
Being short and (I’ll say it the old way) a bit husky when I was a child and teenager, I had to work harder to get picked for sports teams, run, not faster, but for longer, hustle more, and put up with multiple injuries and still keep up to get off the bench. (After years of being last picked for most school or neighborhood pick-up games before high school, I was a started on the Varsity Soccer team in high school for 3 yrs.) This disadvantage and barriers gave perspective that carried over into adulthood in that I had to be smarter, be more prepared, and work harder than other (taller) guys because short guys are just not noticed as much.
In my adult years, I could be talking to someone—whether at the office, out at a gathering, even at church—and someone taller would come along and just start talking to the person I was having a conversation with. Totally looking over me as if I was n’t there. Not only that, in all the years this has been happening—like since I was in my twenties—the persons I was having conversations with never even said anything like, “Excuse me, I am talking with someone.”
I believe this is one reason I struggle with those that don’t have to work (too hard) to get things. Get jobs. Promotions. Cars. Awards. Ok, I don’t really care too much about awards . . . but . . .
When I was in college, I had a pretty good GPA and was very (very) good in Greek. I even taught for some of the professors when they were unable. I had my eye on one award. Just one. The Zondervan Loose Leaf Greek Bible given to the top senior Greek student. There was little doubt I was getting it. I was a senior. I had the best Greek grades. And . . . my name wasn’t called. A Junior got it. Wait! What? That’s not right. But that is exactly what happened. They gave it to someone who wasn’t even graduating that year (that Spring). That was very hard to take. I rarely care about such accolades and awards (really I do don't care), but this one I did. O, come on . . . really, I didn't get it?
I once was told by a psychologist, in my mid-adult years, that I had a warped sense of justice. You think?
I don’t like it when I see someone treated unjustly. Unfairly. Even small subtle things like people getting to go into a newly opened cashier line ahead of others who have been waiting longer. That’s just not right. Right? I speak up. You betcha I do. And, don’t get me going on the bigger things. But that’s more complicated for a personal ranting blog post. I once thought I was gonna be a lawyer. But God had other plans. (Okay, I confess that have been asked for my autograph . . . mistaken for Danny DeVito, the actor . . . I really have.)
I have had to deal with losing everything a few times in my adult life. Having to start over in a new vocation three times because of an unjust act or treatment . . . but I again worked hard, focused, and rebuilt . . . and still hated (and hate it) when I saw (when I see) some people just get to cut in line and not have to work for what they get.
So, now you know me a little better. And, perhaps why I think the way I think and do the things I do.
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.