Shhh… Cat’s Peeing

As I was checking to make sure the doors were locked for the night, as is fitting for the man of the house to do, I heard a rustling by the kitchen window.  At first I thought it might be a raccoon and I love their little masked faces so I opened the side door.  And there it was.  A black cat peeing right in front of me.

I said, “What is this?”

The cat blinked lazily then traipsed off into the dark.

Black cats are bad luck, right?  That means a black cat peeing defiantly in front of you must be really bad.

 

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This Little Light…

I’ve been thinking about the idea of being a “light in the darkness,” which is an image for Christians that dates back to… Jesus, I guess.  Since he said it.

And it’s conjures some lovely imagery: a lighthouse guiding a ship safely to shore, a lantern illuminating someone’s path, a hopeful candle in the window beckoning a loved one home… It’s really all about bringing someone home.

And somehow rather than being lighthouses, lanterns or candles… I think we have more of a reputation of kicking someone when they’re down.  Is there a word for that?  How about “mean?”

Lately I’ve been hearing hissed whispers of people’s secret lives and hidden struggles… and it bothers me because I feel like I’m sheltered, disconnected from the reality of… the darkness.  Like a lantern in a well-lit room, maybe.  So that I’m surprised by how much people are hurting out in the world.  Not even out in the world… how much people an arm’s length away are suffering from their poor choices or even what the world has dealt them…

I’m realizing what a terrible and wonderful responsibility it is to be a light.  Wonderful because it’s about bringing people back to God.  Terrible cause you gotta go out in the dark.

Socially Inept

First off, I want to say that I’ve come a long way with interpersonal communication.  I now say ‘goodbye’ on the phone and in person before hanging up or leaving.  I don’t abruptly change the subject if I find it uninteresting.  But there are definitely moments…

OK.  Here’s what happened.  Not a big deal, but I’m the pastor so I figure I should be less awkward than this, but there was a new lady at church this morning.  Hadn’t met her before.  Came with her daughter whom I just met a couple of days ago.  Trying to make a better effort to mingle and chit-chat at church… so I walked up to new lady and said, “I’m really horrible at small talk.  I’m not sure what to say now.”  As these words are coming out of my mouth, it’s like I’m looking at them in a big cartoon word bubble and I realize that this is not only an appalling way to start a conversation, it’s not even something that should be said out loud ever unless you want to look like Rain Man.

A friend was standing nearby and he jumped in and wrangled the conversation away, glancing at me with horror and disbelief.

 

Grateful

I just read this article about a dad dealing with having a disabled son with an extremely rare genetic disorder… And this sort of thing bothers me so much now.  Or I should say effects me.

Any news article or story about a sick baby, hurting child, or suffering son cuts me right to the bone.  A couple of times I’ve had to snatch Nathanael out of his comfy crib late at night and just hold him for a little while.

It’s important to be reminded that something as simple as having a healthy baby is a gift, a blessing.

There are times when I miss being able to just go somewhere without having to complete a checklist of baby items necessary to leave the house (diapers: check… formula: check… Sophie the Giraffe: check).  Or being able to have a conversation without having to prevent a squirmy kid from grabbing things off the coffee table.

But I’m so grateful.  So achingly grateful for his ten fingers and ten toes and his perfect little nose and two Chiclets teeth and slightly-crossed eyes and perfectly spherical head.

Awkward Moments in Church

Yesterday I was a guest preacher at the English service of a Chinese church.  Delightful people.  Very friendly.

At the end of the service, after announcements and have-a-great-week I stood up and starting talking to my wife about how my teaching went and what we should do for lunch and wondering how Boy was doing in nursery… Until I noticed that everyone else was still silent with heads bowed.  The whole church.  And there I was standing in the middle blabbing away.

I casually side-stepped to some people at the back and asked what was going on.  She said that sometimes a few people take a moment of silence before leaving… But this morning it happened to be everyone taking a moment of silence simultaneously.  Nothing planned or announced or coordinated.  Apparently Chinese people are psychic or something.  Good to know.

 

Reconciliation

For those of you desperately waiting to learn what happened next in the Walmart Saga… I found the receipt and got the money back.

The price difference for the car seat was more than $80, so understandably Walmart was initially reluctant and pointed out their 10-day-price-adjustment policy.  So Wife pointed out their 90-day-return policy and suggested she just buy another car seat and return it with the original receipt… And they relented.

Victory against the Faceless Corporation!

 

You Broke My Heart, Walmart

Walmart exteriorcropped

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday at Walmart while my wife and I were restocking a bunch of baby supplies we walked past the car seat department.  And noticed that the exact car seat we purchased a month ago had its own display.  And was fully $80 cheaper than what we paid.

Do you think I can find the receipt?  No, I cannot is the answer.  I’ve been scouring the house for it, and I’ve found dozens upon dozens of receipts.  Not the one I need.  If I ever need to prove that I bought Imodium, I’m set.

The thing is, I was just talking to the church yesterday about how destructive and selfish an attitude of consumerism can be, trying to get as much as possible for as little as possible.  Wanting to get everything we want for as little cost, as little investment as possible.

Stupid car seat ruined my day.  I literally went through the Five Stages of Grief while walking the aisles of Walmart.

Denial: “That can’t be the same carseat.  Look… I don’t think ours has the little thing that sticks out here.  Isn’t ours a different shade of grey?  Maybe they forgot to add a ‘1’ in front of the price.”

Anger: “This is ridiculous!  If they can afford to sell it this cheap why was I paying so much a month ago?  I bet they were laughing at us when we bought it!.  I’m going to poop right in front of this display.”

Bargaining: “Please, I can show you my bank statement.  I promise I just bought the thing.  Come out to our car.  It’s in the car right now… It looks brand new, except for a couple goldfish cracker crumbs.  How about we split the difference?”

Depression: “Think of all the things we could have bought with the $80 we would have saved.  How come nothing ever works out for us?  Why does the universe plot against us?”

Acceptance: …

OK… evidently I have yet to reach the last stage because when Thea gets home for work I’m searching every inch of the car for that receipt.

This is what I actually said to the girl at customer service when she told me I needed a receipt:

“Walmart is literally breaking my heart.  Literally.  Do you want to listen to my heart?  You can’t.  It’s broken.  Walmart broke it.  I want to tell you that we’re never going to shop here again, but we all know that it’s not true.  Because you’re Walmart.  We’ll probably be back before the week is done.”