an old photo collection


Back at home, I rediscovered an old photo collection of my Boy Scout days.

These dusty photos brought nostalgia. Some of the photos seemed as if they took place in another lifetime. But it all happened within the last decade.

I was a different person back then.

Heavy, with thick glasses, an awkward bookish frame and an incurable stutter, I struggled significantly in Scouting.

It was physically demanding, with trips and activities to fill up one’s year of sweat equity. The Scout’s outdoor culture runs counter to my sedentary upbringing of reading books and journaling indoors. Clearly, my disciplined regimen of reading Brian Jacques’ works left me ill-prepared for the Boy Scout rigors. With my obvious setbacks, it was quite difficult to fit in the social circles of my Troop. Let’s just say that from the get-go, I made fast enemies since I regularly failed to even carry my own weight physically & instinctively. [Unfortunately for my troop, the positive, team-building culture that BSA espoused was utterly lost upon most of them; this is a common case for a number of Boy Scout troops nowadays]

From building tents, to rowing canoes, I was the weakest link, the last kid to be picked, the least of all. Day in and out, from getting lost on pathfinding the wild, to going into shock from falling off canoes, I embodied what a Scout is *not*.


So every day, as I dragged my weary, teary body to my room, I was thinking to myself “Why?”

20120916-194333.jpgFast forward to the part where I’m rolling up the blue neckerchief of Eagle and donning all my badges of merit, giving a speech of honor to a crowd of congratulatory onlookers. Even there, I still was contemplating “Why?”
Looking back, I am glad I went through it. My most humbling and humiliating experiences were seated in Scouting. Many painful days were found in the times with my Troop. But I praise God for them all.

Fast forward to now and quite interestingly, I am hearing myself ask a similar question:


The same notion being outgunned, outmanned and outmatched in every way is here. But here, I already know the reason.

It’s not pleasant to know and admit that you are not in a good place. It’s even worse to realize that you’ve been the cause of your fall, that it was self-inflicted agony.
To realize that you are *not* that man, the rock of stability & strength, is to crush any and every delusions of self-grandeur and independence.

But even there, there is hope.

Paul reminds the readers that God uses the foolish, the weak, the lowly ones to *shame* the strong.

The Psalmist continually reminds himself of the objective reality of the Sovereign Lord, in control of even the despair that ensues.

Upon looking through these dusty photos of a bygone era, I see thematic elements of God mightily using the weak to the praise of His glorious grace; that in the end of the day, when the lowly ones gain their heavenly inheritance, no one can deny that it is by only God’s grace that made it happen.

It is only by God’s grace that I am an Eagle Scout.

And it will only be by God’s grace that I will arise, victorious, grateful and thankful to Him in every way.

Through humble means, by the broken, less-traveled road, is the path to victory.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



2 thoughts on “an old photo collection

  1. Aw, I really liked this entry, Michael. 🙂 Always encouraged by you (particularly during our time in the Czech!).

    Thanks for sharing this– things like this aren’t the easiest things to share but I always appreciate and admire transparency on such a public space.

  2. I was going to make a crack about Michael being a “boy scout” but I won’t now 🙂

    I’ve been drinking your archives lately and at the same time, have been making a daily habit of writing down five things I’m grateful for. This post, and your post about God restoring the years before the locusts, have been included.

    God bless you, God love you, Strength and Honor.

    1 Timothy 2:1

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