I’ve had one scene stuck in my head all day from the movie “A Christmas Story”.

Ralphie and his brother Randy go to the mall to tell Santa what they want for Christmas.  Ralphie wants a Red Rider BB gun and this is his only chance to tell Santa.  The boys stand in line forever but finally they get to the front.  The elves grab Randy first to tell Santa what he wants but he starts screaming in fear so the elves release him down the slide.  Ralphie then gets thrown on Santa’s lap but because he is so awestruck by just being with Santa, he nods dumbly when Santa asks, “What do you want for Christmas little boy? How about a nice football?”   The elves, impatiently, pick him up and toss him down the slide. Ralphie’s brain starts screaming, “Wake Up Stupid! Wake up!” because he just agreed that a football is what he wants.  Ralphie suddenly wakes up, stops himself from sliding and claws his way back up the slide to tell Santa what he really wants.  To which Santa replies, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

How many times this has happened to me!  Not with chubby men in red suits but in everyday life.   I have nodded, agreed and have been whisked down the slide as if everything was fine but the whole time my brain is yelling, “WAKE UP STUPID, WAKE UP!”. Finally a day or 2 or 4 or years later do I realize what I just did, what I agreed to, what I dumbly nodded to.

Restaurant Scene:  Waitress asks, “You want white rice with that, right?”  And I just nod because I’m thinking about something else or I’m trying to be agreeable.  And then when the plate arrives, my brain wakes up and thinks, “Why did you get white rice?! You wanted brown!”  But next time, I will know what question is coming and I will be able to say, (before the waitress even asks), “I WANT BROWN RICE!”

Relationship Scene: Boy (who you barely know but like), says, “I am not ready for a relationship” and you say, “Ok” along with some gibberish and defriend him on Facebook. Later you realize you should have said, “Who was asking for a relationship?! I just want to know you! No one was trying to get serious with you.”  He would have and could have been a great friend (at the very least) but…the brain said, “Wake up stupid! Wake up!” too late. It’s water under the bridge now, the boy is gone, the plate already came, Christmas already passed and what’s done is done.  The end.  (That relationship scene may or may not have happened but even if it did, the boy has long forgotten about me).  History does tend to repeat itself so if this scene happens again, somewhere else, with someone else, you can best be believin’ that I will respond (hopefully) the opposite that how I did and just you wait, that will be the boy I marry!  The joy of having hindsight that is 20/20. 🙂

School Scene:  I remember in 7th grade, a girl asked why I was so happy.  I made up some dumb answer with some gibberish and that was the end.  I never talked to her again.  7 years of my brain saying, “WAKE UP STUPID!” got me to my 2nd year of college when one of the librarians asked me the exact same question: why I was so happy. THIS TIME I KNEW WHAT TO SAY! As soon as he asked the question I knew, “This is my 2nd shot at getting this question right and I’m not going to blow it!”.  And so I told him about Jesus.

What would have happened if Ralphie just slid down the slide as expected?  The movie would have had a very sad ending!  Ralphie would have had to enjoy a football for Christmas.

Is it our desire to please, be agreeable, not make a scene, not stand out, to make people like us that causes us to slide down the slide without stopping halfway down and clawing our way back to the top to say what we actually came to say?  Or perhaps past hurts, insecurities, fears, or pain? I don’t want to live my life with regrets but then again, there are some things you just have to let go because you don’t get a 2nd chance for that specific situation.  IT’S DONE, history, passed, dead, gone, finished, set in stone.

Life is made up of once-in-a-lifetime moments.  ONE SHOT! That’s all you get!  Will the situation repeat itself with someone else, on a different day, in a different place?  Perhaps. Maybe.  Maybe not.

This is my reminder to all us to “WAKE UP STUPID! WAKE UP!” before it’s too late.  Don’t just agree for the sake of being agreeable.  Don’t just nod when you should be shaking your head.  Don’t say “fine, fine” when you should be saying, “NO WAY!”  There are souls, destinies, your health, and Christmases in the balance!

Life is but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.  You can make a difference.

But only if you are awake.