Monday, July 25, 2011

Burundi, cheeseburgers, and ... chumps...:)

         Okay.  My feet are definitely made of clay and my mouth is usually better closed as opposed to open.  I've been reading a little about a traumatized African country, one that used to be joined with Rwanda and like Rwanda, has also experienced tribal genocide.  The name of the place is Burundi and it's history is no less shocking than Rwanda's or the Sudan's.
         I read a little bit this morning about their extreme poverty, tension and violence  back in the 1990's and then I put the book down in order to  go swimming. (Think  Western dichotomy here..). While I'm exercising in the water, a personal grievance enters my mind and before long, my brain is stewing over  this past event, Burundi's problems having taken  a back seat to mine...  After the water aerobics stuff, I head to Sonic and choose at least two items that are relatively low calorie. (The third item we won't discuss.:.)
        After repeating my order three times distinctly  enough and loudly  enough  to have been heard in Burundi  and after also mentioning twice that I had a 2.00 off coupon, the girl gave me my total. I quickly realized it was not discounted. So I called back, talked to someone else and they recalculated my total to include the coupon.
       When the girl came out, she announced that I had a cheese burger.  I told her that I hadn't ordered a cheeseburger.  She looked pretty intelligent but for some reason, she just kept standing there saying flatly, "So.. you don't want this..." I kept telling her that I didn't and she just kept stonewalling.
        I've had problems at this Sonic before but everyone has always been nice about it, quick to try to fix it, etc.  So it hasn't bothered me.
       This time, however, I got ticked.  The only thing that helped me remain calm on the outside was something one of our pastors said a week ago Sunday:  if you've ever been hateful to a casual acquaintance or someone you just met out in public, don't go back and try to witness to them. Just don't even go there...
      And it would be just my luck to go off on the girl and then the next time I see her, it's at church... So I let the pastor's words run through my mind while I deliberately kept my voice firm but calm.  She wouldn't budge, however, and just kept asking me in a flat voice if I didn't want the burger. I'm guessing the manager would have made her pay for the cheese burger had she taken it back.  So again, thinking about the pastor's words and how young she was, I told her I'd take the cheese burger.  (And I bit my tongue to keep from adding colorful speculation on how long it would be before I ever went back to that particular Sonic...)
    And then I even gave her a tip, for which I got a smirk, a nonchalant "Okay", and a shrug.
    And now I'm sitting here wondering how I could even do that?  Like I'm leap-frogging from horrific suffering (starvation, etc) in Burundi to getting bent out of shape over poor service at Sonic and feeling self-righteously aggrieved because, um.. I had to eat a cheeseburger??? And the girl didn't like, fall all over my feet when I went ahead and tipped her in spite of her attitude??? Like I should have at least been kowtowed to  for that or something...!!
    I'd like to say that I'm having a bad day, don't feel good, etc. But I feel fine and my day started off well.
    Instead, I'd have to agree with Corrie ten Boom.  In Tramp for the Lord she wrote  Corrie ten Boom is lazy, selfish, and filled with ego.  But Jesus Christ in Corrie ten Boom is just the opposite of all these things.  (P. 108)
    Basically  when I mess up by being petty (or am keeping it okay on the outside while seething over something petty  on the inside), I'd like to think that's not the real me, that deep down inside I really am the image that I try to project - someone who has their priorities straight, who puts others first, etc. But the truth is that when you scratch the surface, Cathie Abernathy is also lazy, selfish, and filled with ego.
   The good news is that Jesus in me, when I let Him have the upper hand,  is just the opposite.
    And really, I think that's the good news for all of us.

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