I went on a date today. With my husband. Semi-regular dates are one of the reasons we smile when we tell people we’ve been married eleven years. It was time for a date. I was gone for 17 days on a mission trip to Rwanda and then we spent the two weeks since I got home getting our house ready to sell. We’ve scrubbed, painted, hauled, boxed and sorted. We were tired. So today we went to church and then spent the afternoon doing nothing together.
At one point, we ended up at Peet’s Coffee. I had a gift card so we had a guilt free drink each. Its hard to come back from Rwanda and pay $5 for coffee. It’s also hard to keep my mouth shut. In the sermon this morning, our pastor mentioned that upon returning from Rwanda his tolerance for complaining is very low. I experienced this at Peets. The lady in front of us in line was returning her iced coffee. If you’ve ever seen a preschooler refuse to eat lima beans you have a pretty good idea what this thirty something woman was acting like. Her nose was scrunched, her voice was at a high pitch whine. She stuck out her tongue. She actually said yucky. Turns out she didn’t like the ground up coffee beans in her drink. The girl behind the counter deserves a raise for her tolerance. She made her a new non-fat, sugar free, bean free iced mocha. I said “You know the problem with people…. and my husband quite wisely shushed me. This is another reason we’re still married. He has the uncanny ability to tell when I’m headed to disaster and can frequently stop it.
I huffed out of the store with my drink talking about how that woman needs to learn about gratitude and she should try drinking the dirty water the Rwandan’s drink and she should be ashamed of herself for the example she’s setting for her daughter who watched the whole thing. Next door to Peet’s is Ulta. I marched in there and bought a bottle of leave in conditioner still fuming about the coffee woman. The lady in front of me at Ulta spent $214 on shampoo. By now I was on a roll. $214 goes a long way in Rwanda. The average skilled laborer there gets paid about $1 a day. Before I even thought about telling this to shampoo woman, my patient spouse hauled me to the car.
I was ranting about how our country probably spends more on beauty products than the entire economy of Rwanda spends of food. This is a completely made up statistic and has no basis whatsoever in reality. However, with those thoughts running through my head and the experiences in Rwanda still close to the surface I felt pretty self righteous.
Its an ugly place to be.
The truth is that Coffee woman and Shampoo woman probably both need an attitude change. But I needed one more. We could probably all spend less on frivolous things. I know I should. We could also all stand more gratitude and less pickiness. I need to quit complaining if coconut shows up in a cookie.
On the way home tonight, my daughter told me that she doesn’t want to be like Jesus. I asked her why. She said “I don’t want to grow a beard and turn into a boy”. I swallowed a laugh and assured her that wasn’t the point. I explained that really what God wants is for our hearts to be like Jesus. That’s what I want too.
I am grateful for grace that forgives my bad attitude. I’m grateful for sermons on truth. I’m grateful for dates with a husband who makes me laugh and reigns me in. I’m grateful for clean water, a warm house, and food to feed my child. I’m grateful for the courageous and graceful Rwandese people. I’m grateful for generous and creative Americans. Tomorrow I’m going to try and go complaint free. Want to join me?