Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Real Life Ecclesiastes

I've having a personal crisis of the Ecclesiastes variety for the past six months or so. You know, "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" It's been brought on for a variety of reasons.

First, we've taken to watching Naked and Afraid on the Discovery channel. It's such a fascinating show. But the differences between the two people are always so perplexing. Both are very interested and knowledgeable about survival. But obviously the stress of the situation takes its toll. And what gets me the most is when they do their personal interviews, complaining about their partner and what they are or are not doing. One person will place a high value on searching out protein sources, and the other might value a well built shelter to protect them from the elements. But neither can understand why the other wants to spend all their time doing the thing they think is less important. When really, they're both right. They both compliment each other. But they don't know that.

And second, I have found myself living in an area where I am in the political minority. This is surprising to me, because clearly I never intended to. Honestly I can probably thank gerrymandering for that, but it's true. For almost the past decade, I've been on the losing side of almost every election. It totally sucks. I know those who scored their victory last night feel completely validated and I would have too, if the outcome had been the one I voted for. So am I blinded about how that opposing viewpoint can compliment my life? Can it compliment my life, or am I stuck just sucking it up at best, or hoping their decisions crash and burn at worst?

Even among believers there is so much disunity. Everyone feels their view point is right. The correct view point. The way God has asked us to live. And often they are able to justify their view or actions because they feel the Lord has told them to. I can't doubt or argue with what God has told them to do. But sometimes their actions hurt or disappoint others, so where does that leave the disappointed party? Were they not listening to God?

I admit that I'm a pretty black and white person. I have the hardest time understanding how one thing can be right for someone, but something else completely different is right for another person. It's a wonder we can all live together. Everyone is fighting for what they believe is right. And maybe we're all right about whatever it is we are burdened for. But then why all the fighting and pulling and urging to join our side?


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Girl Chaser

A garbage collector in a library with an envelope

Jared scratched his head and sighed. This was way beyond the call of duty. But the girl who lived in that house was cute, and he saw her drop that envelope as she was getting into her car. He finally spotted her at one of the computers. He quietly walked over to her.

"Um, Courtney?" he whispered. She whipped her head around.

"You, um, dropped this. I mean, I saw you drop it and I thought you might need it, so..." Jared fumbled with the envelope and then held it out.

"You saw me drop it?" she asked, clearly skeptical.

"Well, yeah. I was on my route and I was a few houses down and saw you get in your car and drop this, so I got it," he said.

"And then you followed me here?"

Jared felt his face turn bright red. "Gosh, yeah. I'm sorry. It was so stupid." He turned and hurried out of the library as fast as he could.

What was he thinking? Most girls did not want to talk to him much longer after they found out that he was a garbage collector. Courtney would be the same. Whatever. No matter what, it was right that he brought her the envelope. Even if it wasn't important, he had his integrity. He hurried to the garbage truck parked at the far end of the lot.

"Hey!!" someone shouted. He turned and saw Courtney running through the parking lot.

"What's your name?"

His heart lifted.

Monday, October 12, 2015

No Good Deed

She held the $100 bill firmly with both hands, but gently so she wouldn't wrinkle it. Her heart began to pound.

Courtney felt excited and sad all at once. She had never held this much money at once. And on the other hand, she wished she had stumbled upon it just a few minutes later. If she had taken her time putting on her coat she wouldn't have seen the elderly woman drop it, the very one getting into the backseat of a car just 20 feet away. But because she knew who dropped it, she knew what she had to do.

"Ma'am!" Courtney shouted, running to catch the door just before it closed.

"Oh my!" gasped the woman. "Me?"

"Yes, ma'am," Courtney replied. "I saw this fall out of your bag just a minute ago." She held out the precious bill.

"Goodness!" the woman exclaimed. "Well, that would have caused a wrinkle in my day!" Courtney smiled and took a step back.

"Thank you, sweetheart!" the woman called out as she closed her door. Courtney smiled again, waved as the car pulled away, then sighed. In the movies the woman would have been so grateful that she would have given Courtney the money. Or at least offered a reward or something. But real life didn't always work out like that.

Courtney turned and hurried up the street. A quick glance at her watch told her she was late. Again. Which probably meant that she would be fired. Her boss had told her she was out of chances, and ironically she had used the "helping an old lady" excuse two weeks ago when she had simply lost track of time reading a book. She felt her stomach clench as she wished she had kept that money. The lady wouldn't have noticed. No one would have noticed. And if she had enough money to pay someone to drive her around, then surely she would have recovered from that loss just fine.

Courtney shook her head. She used to think stuff like that all the time. But since her life-changing decision, she decided that the right thing to do was the right thing to do, no matter what it cost her. She just had to face the music, then figure out the next step from there.

She could do this.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Roadside Assistance

She giggled as she stared at her flat tire.  The mishaps of this day were becoming epic of comical proportions.  Should she try and change it herself or just start walking?

Taylor stretched her neck and took off her rings, carefully putting them into her pocket. The first time she had ever changed a tire, back in driver's ed, she had squished her rings out of shape trying to get the bolts off the tires. She could do this. It would make a great story, right?
She popped the trunk of her car and started digging around in the trunk, looking for what she needed. She found the spare tire under the upholstery and the tire iron, but she could not for the life of her find the jack.

"Yep! That's about right," Taylor muttered. She leaned further into the trunk.

"Need some help?" a voice said behind her. Taylor shrieked and bumped her head on the lid of the trunk.

"Ow!" she yelped.

"Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to scare you!" Taylor whipped around to see a police officer standing near her.

"You didn't! Oh, um, I mean, that's okay," Taylor stammered. She became flustered as she realized how attractive he was.

"This is a busy road. Can I help?" the officer repeated. Taylor sighed.

"Yes, please. I can't find my car jack. I mean, I could do this myself if I had a jack. Do you have one I could borrow?" 

"Sure," said the officer. "And you can borrow my muscles too. I know how hard it is to get those bolts off those tires." The officer walked around to the trunk of his cruiser while Taylor tried to calm her racing heart. It's a good thing she was young. Being shocked by the pop of her tire and being scared out of her wits by a silent cop were enough to put her 26-year-old heart to the test.

"Here we go! Let me call this in and then we'll get to work," the officer said.

"Call it in?" Taylor asked. Her heart began to race again. Was it illegal to have a flat tire? She had never even gotten a speeding ticket!

"Just so they know where I am and what I'm doing," the officer said. Taylor felt foolish for her almost freak out. She should be freaked out that she was standing next to her car on the side of the busy highway, not freaked out that some nice cop was helping her.

"My name is Matthew Price, by the way," the officer said.

"Oh, right. I'm Taylor," Taylor replied.

"Okay Taylor. Get ready to time me. I'm a whiz at this," Officer Price said. Taylor laughed. She hoped it would take him a little longer than expected because she was beginning to enjoy herself.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chicken Surprise

All the pieces were in place.  He knew she was embarrassed about what had happened, but he hoped this grand gesture would make it up to her.  Or at least make her laugh.  He watched her walk into the park.  He pulled on the chicken head and yelled, “NOW!”

The two guys casually sitting on the bench jumped up and started beat boxing. Three more guys popped out from behind the huge tree and began to sing Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Chicago. Rachel stopped short, clutching her purse to her chest, eyes wide, as the guys approached her. Seth waited for just the right moment.

"After all that we've been through..." Seth sang. People in the park began to stop and pull out their phones, capturing the spectacle. Seth could tell she was totally confused, so he took off the chicken head and dropped to his knees, singing the whole time. Rachel burst out laughing and Seth felt so relieved. They finished the song and everyone started clapping.

"Seth! You weirdo!" Rachel yelled. Seth grabbed her hand with both of his feathery covered chicken costumed hands.

"Rachel! I'm sorry I acted like such a goob the other night. Will you forgive me?" Seth asked. Rachel looked around at the crowd that had gathered and then back at Seth.

"Well, how can I not? Of course!" she said. The crowd cheered. Seth jumped up and lead her over to the bench.

"Seriously, Rachel. You just caught me off guard. I know that was really hard for you to say, and I'm so sorry I made you feel embarrassed," he said.  Rachel looked down at her hands.

"No, I'm sorry. I mean, I meant what I said, but I should have never sprung it on you like that," she replied.

"I hope you can see, by this stupid chicken costume, that I love you too," Seth said, bending his head so he could look into her eyes. He felt some dismay as he watched them fill with tears.

"You wouldn't lie to me, right? I mean, you wouldn't just say it because I said it first and that's what people have to say?" Rachel said softly.

"I would not lie to you about this," Seth said solemnly. "The truth is, I've never said it anyone. And I had to be sure. And I was sure the minute you drove away looking so sad. I hope I never make you that sad again."

Rachel bit her lip and grinned. Then she started laughing really hard.

"Where on earth did you find that chicken costume?" she gasped.