By: Joseph J. Mazzella
“I can’t believe I got an F!” I had just checked on my first test from a new class I was taking in college and there it was: a huge, red “F.” I had never gotten an F before. F meant failure and I had always been one of the smartest kids in school. Grades had never really been a problem for me. I had cruised through grade school, junior high and high school down a road of A’s. I thought college would be the same. I was frustrated, disappointed, and enraged. I stomped down the steps of the building with the test clenched in my fist. I saw a pop can on the sidewalk in front of me and angrily kicked it across the road. A few of my fellow students took one look at me and quickly stepped out of my way. I didn’t care, though. I was so mad. I continued down the sidewalk stewing in a pot of my own negative thoughts. I finally stopped when a little dog that was walking happily up the sidewalk took one look at me and ran away in terror. Puzzled, I turned and saw my face mirrored in a store window. It had the nastiest look I had ever seen on it.
At that moment I remembered what my Mom used to say when I was pouting, scowling, or throwing a fit as a boy. “You keep that up and your face is gonna freeze that way.” Then she would give me her gentle smile. I looked in the window again. I certainly didn’t want my face to freeze that way. I laughed at my own silliness and suddenly felt all of my anger melting away. I saw how stupid I was being and vowed to never again let my grades determine my worth. It was worth the “F” to learn that lesson. And I have carried it with me to this day.
God loves us so much. It doesn’t matter if we get good grades or bad. It doesn’t matter if we are smart, stupid, silly, or sad. God loves us and God wants us to love as well. Remember the old saying then: “The world is your mirror.” Do your best to reflect your love, joy, and light. Fill your days with smiles and your soul with peace. Then if your face freezes, you won’t mind.