The desire to belong makes people do crazy things, especially 13-year-old girl people. I now look back on Slave Day and chuckle, but back then...
I can't miss the bus, but there is no way I will wear these pants today. I have to look all cute, like the cheerleaders, or else I won't get picked.
"Mom!" I bellowed. "Please don't tell me you didn't wash my brown pants."
She doesn't have a clue how important today is! I rolled my eyes and sighed, exasperated.
Mom leaned in my bedroom door and tossed me the brown pants.
Thank God! I forgot to thank Mom.
Minutes later I stood before my full-length mirror, admiring the tight fit of my brown pants. They were the perfect pants for the perfect day. I had been on the outside looking in since I came to this school, but today was going to change all that.
Five hours later, having suffered through classes until noon, I huddled in one of many small groups in the schoolyard. My friends and I had talked of nothing but this day for the past month, and it was finally here!
Our football team wanted new uniforms, and the funds weren't in the budget. There are two important things about Texans: 1) We worship football; and 2) If it's for football, we'll make it happen. To that end, someone -- probably one of those perky cheerleaders -- had come up with the idea of having a Slave Day to raise money.
The girls who wanted to would be auctioned to the boys for the afternoon. Any girls with the bad fortune of not being picked -- along with all other students of either gender who had sense enough not to want to be slave or master -- would take turns working the concession stands. The whole thing was in fun, and the monies collected would go to the football team.
All in fun, if you weren't a 13-year-old girl consumed with being accepted. To me, today was deadly serious. Today was my day. After the jocks bought the cheerleaders and all the couples partnered up, us singles would have our turn to be somebody.
I held my breath and shut my eyes when my name was finally announced. What if no one bids? I will be so humiliated!
I recognized Herman's voice and groaned. He'd had a crush on me for a couple months now, and I'd not been very nice to him. He was just a math geek.
Who was that? I peeked from one eye. I couldn't see anyone.
"Fifteen." Herman wasn't to be outdone.
"Twenty-five!" Herman won the bid.
Math geeks must be able to earn lots of money, because Herman had bid on and won three of us girls that day. I wasn't pleased about having Herman as my master, but I comforted myself by remembering that another guy, though unidentified, had also bid on me. Maybe I wasn't a loser after all.
After an hour, I was re-evaluating my desire to fit in. I'd finished cleaning out Herman's locker. I'd paid his overdue fines at the library. Now I found myself, side by side with my master's other two slaves, crawling across the football field. We were entertainment for other students smart enough not to have been bought or sold. They'd chosen instead to give their money to the team by buying hotdogs, nachos, or cotton candy.
Moments later, popularity became grossly overrated and fitting in took on a whole new meaning. Herman ordered us to pick up the pace, and I was wondering if I'd be able to get the grass stains off the knees of my favorite pants when I heard it: R - I - P! From the bleachers, laughter gave way to catcalls, just as cool air hit my cheeks -- and I don't mean the cheeks on my face.
And I'd thought being purchased by a math geek was embarrassing...
My only conscious thought as I fled from the field was: What pair of underwear am I wearing today?
This memory brings a fond smile today because I finally belong -- to God. He is my Master. I no longer base my worth on what others' opinions of me might be. I know only too well how the enemy uses fear of man to lead people down the wrong path in life.
Herman paid $25 to "own" me for a day, but God gave His life to free me for eternity.
Author's Note: Loosely based on a true experience I had in middle school (1973). Today I serve only one Master -- the Lord Jesus Christ.
Knowing both the freedom of surrender and the pain of resistance, Cheri desires to bring God's hope to others suffering in life's deserts. She and husband Wayne have been blessed with four children and three grandchildren. Contact Cheri at email@example.com
Copyright 2007 Cheri Hardaway
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