At the end of 5th grade I was chosen to be a patrol boy.  I was told I would get to wear a belt across my waist and chest with a shiny silver badge that had AAA on it.  I thought it was super cool like A plus, plus; I would later learn about the American Automobile Association.  

The first week of June I was trained by the 6th grade patrol boys.  They told me about the power I would have.  Another patrol boy and I were in charge of making the other elementary kids line up at the stoplight at Brownsboro Road (KY State Hwy 42) which was a four-lane 45 suggested-speed major artery of Louisville’s east end.

When I felt like it, I could push the cross button to change the light and stop all the traffic.  I would tell the kids when to cross, escort them halfway and come back.  I loved the sense of control over others I would have and I loved the look of my patrol boy outfit.  I was honored to be chosen.  It was during my Thursday morning training that first week of June that I heard Senator Robert F. Kennedy had been shot; the news wouldn’t sink in for several years.

During sixth grade I learned that being chosen is not easy.  The few sunny June days became the many fall and winter days with some rain, sleet, or snow.  I had to get there early, stay late, and be responsible.  Some kids made fun of my AAA badge. The routine of pushing the button, walking halfway, coming back would lose its thrill but not its importance.  I think I maybe got some certificate at the end of the year after I fulfilled my responsibility of being chosen.  I trained the next two guys.

People of faith talk about being chosen or called to their journey of faith.  I learned from being a patrol boy that being chosen isn’t easy; it isn’t about the control, the power, the AAA badge, or the certificate at the end.  We are chosen to serve –  to do our part each day to make the crossings of others safer and better with our presence.  We are chosen not because we are better, but to be better.  We are not alone; others serve with us.

When have you experienced the honor of being chosen before learning how much responsibility you would have?  How have you helped others cross dangerous paths on their journeys?  What rewards do you receive in loving and serving others?

2 thoughts on “Patrol Boy

  1. Never was being chosen more clear than in 2009. There were 36 in my class at Wake Div. 23 graduated and 4 had jobs waiting for them in 2009, after the the real estate bomb hit and ruined our economy. At so many medical hospitals, chaplains were being laid off. I loved CPE and my placement was at a small regional hospital. I was never more sure of my calling to medical chaplaincy,and I later railed at God all the way home for not making the call I knew was in store for me come true. In June 2009 I my resume was requested and I was hired for a job in a psychiatric facility closer to home. I sent out, probably, 40 resumes with only one response. I took the job, as the other three students took theirs, so relieved that I had a job. Only much later did I realize the gift of being call. The popular “Jesus Laughs” sketch still best reflects the pain and relief of my call. It grounds me daily.

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