I should have seen it coming… starting a year ago, when I first preached on the Blue Jays, and those CTV and CBC news crews came to church and filmed the sermon and did stories that ended up gaining media traction here in Canada, and then a month ago, when Rogers Communications discovered those stories and asked me to do an interview for a big marketing campaign they were rolling out, and then two weeks ago, when, after we did that interview, they gave me two all-expense paid trips to Toronto to see a game in the President’s Suite (with all the fixings), and then at that game when I was told that an excerpt from the interview would play on the Jumbotron mid-second inning (like my head isn’t already big enough?).
I should have seen it coming.
And it came right after that second inning cranial stretch, as I walked over to legendary Jays’ third baseman Kelly Gruber for a selfie. They say that pride hides in a blind spot, and that you never see the fall until it comes.
So there I am shaking Kelly’s hand and pulling out my phone. When I asked if it would be okay to take a selfie, he said ‘No!’… and then he kind of chided me (and all those fans who are so selfie-oriented) for always wanting to see our faces on our screens. Before he could finish what he was saying I stepped back (my pride flaring) and thought, ‘Nice guy… who needs a picture with him?’. Then I said, “Hey Kelly… don’t worry about it!” (with exactly the kind of tone you’d imagine me using), and began to walk away.
Then Kelly grabbed me by the arm and said, “No, no, no, no, no… you don’t get to do that… now you’re reacting out of your pride!” Then he went on to finish what he was saying, telling me how his whole life is filled with people who want to take selfies, and how he doesn’t want to be looking at his own face, and hearing his own voice, all the time, and how he prefers to pass the phone to a bystander to take the photo to avoid all of that unnecessary self-focus.
I can’t tell you how humbling that moment was.
Here you have a bonafide legend of the game schooling you on pride. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever learn. There I was, two minutes earlier, phone in hand, ready to capture a picture or my mug on the Jumbotron.
Kelly was so very gracious as we spoke at length later that evening, talking about our insecurities and our fears of performing before others. I suppose this battle with pride is a part of every human journey.
For me this moment was a perfectly timed parable of selflessness; tucked right in the middle of one of the most heady nights of my life.