A few weeks ago, I slid into a chair in council chambers in a Dallas/Fort Worth city. I checked my watch and turned on my iPad. Like every second and fourth Tuesday night of the month, I was there to cover the meeting for a local newspaper.
The agenda for that night’s meeting was light, and I was glad. I was tired. I had been at city hall since earlier that afternoon when I covered a press conference put on by the mayor. I was ready to get home and eat something with chocolate and go to bed early.
About halfway through the meeting, the double doors in the back opened loudly and mayor stopped talking. He had skipped over something earlier on the agenda, but I hadn’t noticed. All eyes turned to the back of the room where three high school girls stood. Two of the girls, beautiful and slender with skinny jeans and track jackets, flanked another girl, who was shorter and had stringy red hair she had pulled back in a ponytail. They were ushered to the front of the room and the mayor started telling their story.
The two girls had been nominated for Homecoming Queen, but in a prank against the red-headed girl, other students had falsely told her that she was also nominated for Homecoming court.
After hearing about the prank, the two girls made a promise that if either one of them won the crown, they’d give it to the red-headed girl.
And that’s just what happened.
People at the meeting where I was at began crying and clapping when they heard that. Everyone wanted to hug them and meet them and shake their hands. I snapped their photo and found myself smiling.
Here is the good in the world, I thought.
These girls appeared on Ellen. They made headlines for what they did, and still, as they stood there on a Tuesday night in city hall, they shrugged and whispered giggles to each other. It was easy to see they were all friends.
Just 17 and 18 years old, they reminded me of something beautiful I’d forgotten: There is good. There is hope. There is grace. There are people in this world who are willing to give up their crowns. I pray you bump into those people in your daily lives. I pray we are those people.
As a Christian, the story of the girls reminds me of another one: the story of Jesus. Here was someone who gave up his throne to put on skin and come to earth. He gave up his crown for the sake of others. He gave up his comfort to love others.
So when someone sees these three girls and hears their story, they can see hope and know that it tears through the muck of this world. People need to be reminded of that. I need to be reminded of that.
I’ve forgotten that I was only popular in high school because I clung to people who were popular. I wasn’t nominated for homecoming court. I went dateless to prom. I drove an obnoxiously loud Ford Ranger. Then recently, I had lunch with a high school friend, who kindly reminded me that I wore a hideous black leather jacket constantly (I had blocked that fashion choice from memory).
I seriously have no idea how I made it through high school.
These three students reminded me goodness shines and it doesn’t have to be just in the high school hallways. They reminded me that I need to love others more, help others more, give others more spotlight.
We don’t have to give up the crown because it’s the right thing to do or because it’s moral or because it’s in the rules. We give up the crown so others can get a glimpse of grace and remember there is good still.