I’ve worn a Kevlar Vest for so many years I’ve lost count. I still remember the first time I put one on. The person holding the tape measure was far more comfortable than I. I was as nervous wreck. I’d never felt the need to wear one before, mine had been a straight forward, by the book kind of life. Yes, there were some days that were more trying than others, but I’d always been in total control of any and all situations. I always played close to the edge, but never intentionally and never with any conscious desire to cross it.

On that day, so, so, many years ago I found myself in unfamiliar territory. Was I sure I could handle this? I mean, this was a responsibility that I was sure many dreamed of, but few indulged in. An elite crowd, a closed group… the chosen few… but if they were chosen, who was doing the choosing? From where I stood, it wasn’t a choice, there were no check yes or no boxes. No matter how long or how hard you danced around it, knowingly or unknowingly, and no matter who the dance instructor was, you would eventually trip and stumble, and fate would be standing in the shadows waiting to catch you when you fell.

Little did I realize, measuring me was a mere formality. My vest was ready long before I arrived at this day. The maker, not the measurer, knew me. The maker also knew the challenges I would face once I accepted that unwritten invitation, the one that had been stamped on my heart since the moment I was conceived. They would be more than I could handle alone— and that would never be allowed.

 

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