I did the right thing today, even though I hated to do it. I was shopping at Trader Joe’s. I put everything in to my car and pushed the car on the side walk, just beside the line of carts figuring that an employee would get it.
As I unpacked the eggs to get to the illicit milk chocolate to hide in my purse the cart started moving. It ran between my mini-SUV and a newish looking Chevrolet Coupe. It scraped my car up a little and hit the side of the Chevrolet’s mirror, leaving three noticeable scratches.
I thought about what I should do next? It’s little things like this that reveal character. Should I try to wipe it off? I did, but it seems like I scratched the plastic. I ultimately decided to leave a note. I got out my pen and the ink was gooey. I threw it away, and decided that this was God’s way of saying I didn’t need to leave a note, but I felt uneasy about it.
I found another pen and began to write the note. Again, a non-functional pen. (A pet peeve of mine is having non-functional pens laying around) “Ah, I thought, for sure this means God doesn’t want me to do this.” Number three also didn’t work. It happened another time. I could easily be led by my circumstances that the right thing to do was to leave. That, however, would not be “good” and we are expected to “do good”.
I wound up writing the note. It goes something like this. “A cart scrapped the size of your mirror, on the passenger side. Some steel wool should probably take car of it, but if it doesn’t I will get it fixed. Here are my phone numbers XXX-XXX-XXXX and XXX-XXX-XXXX – Malakoa”
I may have to pay to get the entire mirror replaced.
The most convicting verse for me in all of this is Psalm 34:14: “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” I think I will park carts appropriately from now on. Obviously if I damage a car I will write a note. This is a good way of seeking peace with others – I don’t feel so peaceful right now, but I am pursuing it with the owner of the Chevrolet.
How far was I willing to go to do the right thing? How far are you willing to go? The high schoolers who were asking how far they could go with their boyfriends usually go this answer: How far are you willing to go to celebrate the God of the Universe? That, my dear, is the right question to ask, not how far you can go on the other side.
I often don’t go all the way, My question is how can I go about choosing what is easy or what is selfish. I didn’t necessarily do evil in leaving the car out of the line, but it was lazy, and I could have taken seven extra steps and I wouldn’t be writing this to you right now.
Randy Pausch, who died of pancreatic cancer, gave an inspirational “Last Lecture” knowing he would soon die. I wish I could directly quote him, but I can’t. The gist of one of his subjects is that our behavior shows how important something is to us. He tells stories about getting to work as an Imagineer, experience weightlessness and lots of other things. He wanted them, even if they were difficult to swing, and he did everything he could to do get them. He ultimately got them.
Someday I hope to want to do the right thing with a passion. If things get in my way I will blast them with my spiritual light saber. I’m not there yet, but I feel like I did the right thing by leaving that note. I know that it doesn’t get easier – the little things do but our choices get more and difficult to handle. I am strengthened by prayer, meditating on God’s word and being around others who want to pursue goodness.
In Ecclesiastics, Solomon says, “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.” This is what I want and hope some day am willing to do everything to pursue it