Sad.

That is the appropriate word to describe my feelings toward the heated newsworthy scandal traveling like a living antonym with wings through “Happy” Valley.

Penn State was home to me.

Not in the way you would think. I’m not a graduate on paper. Never attended class. But the buzz, heartbeat and pride of Penn State runs through my beating blood. I could walk with you to the heart of campus, the “Mall” lined with Elm trees, to the very square foot where my parents (both graduates) first met.

 

No Penn State = no me.

Beyond that, the place holds shaping influences deeper than my mere existence.

It became home when Dad & I searched and found what would become my brother’s college house and eventually Dad’s place of retirement. More than five very influential years of my life were found on the front porch of College Avenue watching students parade back and forth while interacting with tenants who occupied the upper floors. I knew where the best stromboli and sticky buns were. The cheapest beer. I ran the indoor track of Hec Ed Pavillion. Watched women’s basketball. Studied in the library, over weekends, for exams to be taken on Monday at my own University two hours away.

I also walked the route to Beaver Field. The Temple, some have called it.

Tailgates.

Chants.

Kisses upon the bronze monument of Joe Paterno.

Penn State is my family’s tradition. Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, Cousins… so many… a graduate.

We’ve been proud.

But as my dad said just this morning… a man, part of this community for so long… a man who has had the utmost respect for Paterno and Sandusky…

“Beaver Field has just shrunken in size.”

So this morning I write, no longer a college kid but a grown woman who recently said, “Hello” to (former) President Spanier at the State College airport, there are 5 things we can learn from the Penn State scandal:

1) Poor choices can hide dormant for years but be assured, sin will always be found out! Our choices matter and there is usually room to choose better.

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 (New American Standard)

2) Let us remember the sin of omission!

It is not always what we do, but what we don’t do that leads us astray.

3) With leadership comes great responsibility!

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

4) Refuse to elevate man beyond his position!

Only the Lord is to be praised! Only the Lord brings true happiness, fulfillment and joy. Only the Lord will remain faithful, true… without fault.

Words of wisdom from my father, “As we look to the “Legends” of our day, let us remember- they put their shoes on like you and I.”

5) Stop pointing your finger, while shaking your head. We are ALL capable of the same!

By far, this is the most important thing I’ve learned as a Christian. Apart from the absolute grace of God, I am no different than Paterno, Spanier and dare I say, Sandusky.

Yes, the outrage is warranted. Yes, we must have consequences for the protection of children. Yes, it is disgusting, foul, and outrageous. But don’t think for a minute while we “tsk, tsk, tsk” that we ourselves are not also capable.

If we all choose to believe this fact, then might we be finished with shrines, monuments, idols and puffed up leaders.

Football dynasties.

May our respect and honor for “man” be reduced to the size of a scoop of ice cream.

I think that is a fitting flavor to honor the dedication and commitment our leaders make and sure hope the State College creamery holds on to their ever popular,  “Peachy Paterno.” 

 

Photo Credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)