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You probably can’t tell from my picture, but there is a high probability that I am taller then you. Last week a woman approached me at an event and commented on the Derrick articles I write. She knows my parents, but was somewhat surprised at how tall I was. She mentioned that you don’t know someone’s height by their head-shot in the newspaper.
I frequently get questions about my height. I am 6’9” so for most of my life I have had a much higher view of the world then many. My height is actually a symptom of a genetic condition that I was born with. Practically anytime I go out to Walmart or some other place with a crowd I get stared at and asked how tall I am. Then the follow-up question, “Did you play basketball?”
I’ve been told I should respond by asking a question back such as, “Do you play mini-golf?” or “Are you a sumo wrestler?” But I figure being a pastor, and a Christian, those responses aren’t going to achieve any Jesus points! I graciously inform them that I couldn’t play organized sports because of my genetic condition but I played for fun. Then they say they’re sorry, but I assure them that God’s plans for my life are greater than sports.
Typically the conversations are well mannered, but sometimes I get the rude person who just acts like a jerk. I’ve even had people come up behind me and pull up my pant legs to see my actual legs and then run back to their group speaking loudly that I’m not walking on stilts. These things can be a little annoying, and they upset me more when I’m with my children. Having tall sons, with two of them having the same condition, they get to see how people will treat them even as an adult.
Proverbs 12:18 states, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” I stress this in practically every area of life. The words we say are going to bring hurt or healing. Inquiry is fine, but be careful with what you say.
I have had the height question all my life, but last week a question was asked that no one had ever asked me before. While getting my haircut the woman having her hair done beside me blurts out, “What happened to your nose?” Having my glasses off, I couldn’t tell if she was looking at me. Pondering if I’m the one to answer and after an awkward silence I inquired, “Do you mean MY nose?” Astonished that I didn’t know she was addressing me she said, “Yes, what happened to your nose? Why’s it so big?”
I proceeded to tell her that as a teen and in college I had broken it playing basketball. I guess that satisfied her need to know about the look of my nose. Someone later told me I should have asked her what happened to her face, but that wouldn’t have gotten any Jesus points either.