Thursday, December 31, 2009

War Against the Roaches

"Roaches check in... [cocks gun]
[cocks gun] ... But they don't check out."

I was awoken this morning feeling like Will Smith's character from Men in Black.

Two days ago I was startled to find a cockroach scurrying around inside my kitchen sink. This morning I woke up to something tickling my arm. IT WAS A COCKROACH!!! I lunged out of bed and quickly found a shoe lying on the ground and made direct contact with the roach... in the middle of my bed (I think I need to wash my sheets).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lessons of Compassion from the 'Secular' World

Since I started working at Trader Joe's a couple months ago, I've several times been astonished by the lessons of compassion that I've learned from my co-workers, as well as stories included in the company's weekly internal bulletin. Here are a few stories I'd like to share:

The first lesson of compassion I learned was from my supervisor Amanda (the same supervisor that recently bailed me out when I accidentally made the incorrect change for my unemployed Psychic friend). She told me about how someone knocked off her car's side-view mirror. The person who hit her car was responsible enough to leave a note. When Amanda called, she told her that her gift for "doing the right thing" was not having to pay for for the damage. Amanda's only request was, "keep doing what's right."

Another lesson I learned second hand was about a women who was shopping at a Trader Joe's store when she fainted. Turns out the women had suffered from fainting spells for much of her life. She had come to the store via bus, but a few of the employees called a cab and stuck twenty dollars in her pocket for the ride home.

Another women at a different Trader Joe's store was caught in an embarrassing moment when her food stamps were not sufficient to pay for all her groceries. Flustered, but before she could finish telling her children that they needed to put some of the food back, the employee discreetly said that the remainder of her groceries were paid for and whisked out the door with all her groceries in hand.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Most Ironic/Contradictory American Invention

Having spent an extended amount of time in Walgreens today, I have decided that the modern pharmacy is the most ironic/contradictory invention that American capitalism has ever created (I'm not knocking capitalism, just saying...). A pharmacy, as I understand it, is a place where sick people go to get their prescriptions filled so they can take medicine that will make them better, or at least less sick. Unfortunately, very often it's the pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies themselves that stand to benefit the most, not sick people. Turns out, a balanced diet and regular exercise are prescriptions that don't earn pharmaceutical companies much money. The allure of a quick fix (a magic pill, so to speak), however, has the power to turn a generous profit. Furthermore, have you ever considered the "food" that is sold at pharmacies such as Walgreens or CVS? The grocery aisle looks remarkably similar to the convenience food-mart found along side many gas stations. Junk food galore! But it's cheaply made food sold at a premium price. Again, profit seems to win over making people healthy. But as long as people continue to buy unhealthy food they are more likely to continue filling their medical prescriptions at the local pharmacy. It's a vicious cycle, but it's one that undoubtedly generates a lot of revenue for the modern American pharmacy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2 weeks later...

Well, now that my first semester of seminary is finally over, I feel 100% free to write a rambling post...

In my last post, I shared about my laptop and TV getting stolen. In the immediate aftermath of discovering that my computer was gone (I didn't care so much about the TV), I was anxious, angry, and let loose a mouth full of obscenities. But to my surprise, my frustration quickly subsided and my concern became less about the loss of a material item, and more about the loss of important papers for school, pictures and other documents that I wouldn't be able to reproduce, and the safety of my identity (I do my bill-paying online). I think I'm finally learning to put less stock in material possessions.

I've also gained new perspective in several other areas. For starters, I no longer check my email obsessively, allowing me to focus on more important matters. Secondly, I have had to rely on the generosity of others (professors to grant me extensions to rewrite my papers and Carol's willingness to let me take over her computer from time to time). Thirdly, the whole situation has reminded me how blessed I am to even own a computer in the first place.

Additional thoughts: Some have asked me if I am angry at the person(s) who stole my computer. My answer is mixed. Yes! I am angry that someone would invade the privacy of my apartment and take my stuff. And also, no, because thievery is only a natural consequence of in living a world that is broken. More than likely, my stuff was stolen by someone out of desperation. The laptop and TV were probably sold for a few hundred dollars to put food on the table of a poor family, or to sustain a life-draining addition to drugs and alcohol. At the very least, this theft was the result of greed. In any event, the theft of my laptop is a direct result of human depravity. So here's my concluding thought: To not be affected by the the broken condition of this world means not to be in a position to bring healing to this world.

Eventually, I think I will need to purchase a new computer (If I wasn't in graduate school I'd consider going longer without one). But for the time being I'm almost enjoying the freedom of going without, trying to be more intentional about storing up treasures in heaven, as it were.