Sunday, July 09, 2017


Sunday Reflection: Small Mercies

Yesterday, I did something dumb. I used an ATM to get some cash (that's what they are there for, after all), and then drove off. The dumb part is that I left the ATM card in the maw of the machine. By the time I realized this, I was a long way off.

Somehow, that kind of incompetence undoes me. As Stuart Smalley might say, it can send me into a "shame spiral" where I take it too seriously.

But, it isn't 1885, and I didn't leave a pile of cash by the hitching post (as one of the archaic cases in the crim law book I have been working with sets out). I just canceled the ATM card, and no real harm was done, except to my pride. And the truth is that having my pride harmed once in a while is a pretty good thing, a kind of mercy in itself-- and instruction to maybe not take myself so seriously.

And I'm sure the person who found my card still in the slot had a pretty good laugh over it....

Or, there's the time I filled up my car with gasoline at the self-service pump (the only kind that exists these days), and left my credit card on top of the pump after I swiped it.

By the time I realized it and returned to the station, the card was gone, the "finder" had not turned it in to the clerk inside the C-store, and when I called to report it to the card company, two charges had been made to it at a store 30 minutes away.

I felt similarly dumb, and probably shook my head at my stupidity and carelessness.

Later, it dawned on me that whatever value God finds in me, it is not because I'm smart and don't make mistakes, and, humbled, I was able to experience something of God's goodness and grace in a way that my arrogant, mistake-free self never could.

So, I am grateful for my stupid blunders.
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