I had a crazy thing happen to me this month. My middle son and daughter are in their high school’s marching band. (Don’t talk to me about how old I feel right now, with my youngest in high school). Of course, since both of them are in the band, we are heavily involved. My wife is the band boosters’ secretary and I am working in the pit crew; we carry all the equipment to the field.
This means we show up early to band events and help. A month ago we showed up for a football game because the band was playing during the game and at halftime. I was driving my truck, so I parked in an open spot a little further afield so that I would be able to fit. I was coming from work and my wife was coming from home, so we met at the school; she brought me a change of clothes so I could be warm and comfortable. I saw her pull into the parking lot and went over to her car to get my clothes. I thought I would be able to go back to my truck and change in the back seat. As I made my way to the truck I saw that the parking lot had filled around it and another truck was parked next to me. Curiously, several high school age boys were looking at my truck and pointing to the area around my driver’s side front tire. When they saw me coming they all turned and walked to the back of their truck, so I was suspicious. I unlocked my door, and as I began to pull it open it made a horrible noise. I closed the door and looked with horror at a fresh new scrape across the side of my truck.
I turned to the group of boys standing close by and asked “So what happened? Did someone hit my truck?” their response was nothing but denial. I pressed harder; “someone hit my truck because my door didn’t make that noise when I parked here!” again the response was that they didn’t know anything. I had seen them looking and pointing at my truck and they had seen me walk up, and still they denied they had seen anything happen. Not sure what to do, I walked toward the stadium to meet up with my wife, annoyed that these boys were not going to admit what was obvious to me. As I walked through the parking lot I saw one of the school security officers, and I thought I would stop and tell him what happened. After I had explained everything to him he walked back to my truck with me to take a look. When we arrived the officer turned to the boys still huddled by the truck and asked, “Do any of you know what happened?” At this the boy who owned the truck caved in and admitted his mistake. Gone was the denial of guilt, and a contrite young man stood there apologizing for what he had done.
The funny part is I wasn’t upset over his hitting my truck. This truck is 12 years old and has more wrinkles and dents than my 97 year old grandmother. I myself ran into it with my wife’s minivan one Sunday while pulling out for church. I forgot I had parked it in the front yard outside the garage. What upset me was that he refused to own up to it. If he had been honest when I asked, I probably would have just told him to be better about his parking and walked away. I fixed the door with a crowbar later, and now it works just fine.
I can’t really be mad at the kid; he had insurance so I am going to get a check for the damage, probably just put the money in my pocket, and say thank you. The other reason I can’t be too mad is that I have done the same thing, not in the context of a car accident but in so many other ways. I have things in my life that are obvious to everyone. I know I am guilty, yet I do everything I can to avoid admitting it or acknowledging that I need to change. We human beings are funny that way. It is always easier to deal with someone else’s issues rather than my own. But sometimes such confrontations become unavoidable; we get cornered by our own sins and then no amount of squirming or running is going to work. Even though we fear it, its probably better for us if we just admit our faults in the first place. We would avoid all the squirming and energy wasted on the cover up, and instead spend that energy on fixing the problem. But, then again, it sure is tempting to spend that money on a big screen TV and not fix any problem!