Most people who know me would NOT characterize me as a thief! BUT… there was the time when…
We were still living in communist Romania — now in a one-room apartment, having endured life in the dorms long enough! Many things were rationed during that time: flour, sugar, oil, eggs, meat. Our ration coupons didn’t do much good if said item did not arrive in town that month, but at least having them gave us a glimmer of hope!
A “perk” of living in the student housing complex was that we were also able to have coupons for fresh milk. One liter every few days. We’d leave our glass milk bottle, with our room number hanging by string around its neck, at the entrance to the building in the morning. Sometime during the day the milk would be delivered.
BUT… more often than not, there were more bottles awaiting milk than that day’s allotment, which meant someone went without. Which meant people often “switched” the tag from their empty bottle to a bottle full of milk. Which meant, in a word, stealing.
AND… more often than not, that “someone” going without was us!!!
Enough is enough! And so one day, when I found our tag laying on the floor, I simply removed someone’s else’s tag, put our tag on a full bottle of milk, and then went upstairs triumphantly with… yes, someone else’s bottle of milk! No one was going to swap OUR bottle today and get OUR milk!
I set about boiling the milk (it wasn’t pasteurized back then), eagerly looking forward to enjoying the spoils of my chicanery.
BUT… in my haste, I poured the not-yet-cool-enough milk into the glass milk bottle and…
It broke!!! The precious milk went down the drain.
I’ve often thought God has a great sense of humor. This was one of those times in which He reminded me — with a touch of humor (and humiliation) — that stealing never pays.
Why do I share this story? Because it emphasizes that sometimes, when we find ourselves in pressure-cooker type situations, we may do — or say — things that may be out of character. When I had that overwhelming, enough-is-enough feeling I reacted by trying to regain control of something that normally would not have been an issue.
I’m wondering how often — especially in this pandemic-crazed world we live in — ALL of us have had these kinds of experiences?!? Experiences that have surfaced something in us — or those around us — that is out of character. Experiences that have shocked us and made us wonder who in the world we are. Experiences in which we said or did something that is counter to how we would normally respond.
One thing this has taught me is to be kinder, gentler with myself. After all, I am NOT a thief!
AND… to be kinder, gentler with others.
And as we do that, I’m guessing that we just may be able to have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life.”