Tired and dirty, I was ready for hell week to end. It wasn't that new sugar coated "inspiration week." Not to me. This was the good old fashioned hell week. So I wasn't inspired. No, back then it was just, well, just what it was: hell week at the fraternity house.
Then on the following Sunday morning, right after the week ended, things were different. Inspirational even.
Perhaps because it was Sunday, or perhaps because we were all still so tired, we actually sat quietly as some pastor gave us a talk. Well really, he just told a couple of jokes.
Then, this pastor started passing out a mountain, yes a true mountain of business cards. These business cards had a number of various short and trite sayings on them, such as "go get 'em" or "rah rah you can do it".
Definitely an amusing collection of old and tired quotes. But then it caught my attention. The one saying that would so profoundly affect my life. This one card humbly caught my eye. What did it mean? I was no longer tired, no longer waking up. I was awake. My full curiosity was aroused.
The card simply said, I'm third.
The pastor saw my puzzlement and explained: God first, my fellow man second, and I'm third.That was it. He said nothing more to me, he just moved on to speak to one of my fraternity brothers.
My thoughts remained with the card. Yes. This explains things. This explains life.
By putting God first, the focus is on doing good things with my life, acting good, and doing good things. Really good things.
Putting my fellow man second, well isn't that what a fraternity is all about? The laughter, the shared memories. Through fellowship, together we are doing even more good. Awesome. This clicked.
Finally, I'm third. The words on the card. The two words that summarized the entire philosophy of a good life. I'm third. Out of all the priorities in life, one would always be in the third position. Take care of yourself. Regular exercise, a good diet, and a strong spirit are necessary if we are to make the most of our life. Not I'm last, but I'm third.
Now that several decades have passed, this is the saying that inspires me most: I'm third.
Out of hell came a beautiful lesson, thanks to that pastor and his mountain of business cards.