Monday, October 27, 2008
You don't get away with nothing
(At least, I don't get away with much. Here is Sherlock on my filing cabinet, watching me work, in case I drop some tuna.)
You could call it Grandma Karma. It's simple - every thing you do matters. This may not strike home if we couch it in terms of cause-and-effect. It's not as obvious as the Law of Motion that says "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," which describes the world of things. Human behavior is not so predictable, especially when it comes to our influence on other people.
I was struck by this yesterday during coffee hour after early church. Fellowship Hall was not very crowded, and I was standing sipping coffee when I noticed that some liquid had been spilled on the wood floor across the way.
One unhappy piece of my history sprang to mind, the time I slipped on my own wet kitchen floor, fell, and broke a finger. (Bad karma, bad!) So I knew that a wet floor is dangerous, knew from experience, not just abstractly.
Grandmas are historically big on experience, which is half of what wisdom is built on, I think, the other half being what we learn from that experience. I think of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, who based her detective work on what she knew first-hand in her cloistered life in a village.
A second memory came to me. Not long ago I had been standing thus idle, and noticed a friend who was walking through the Hall spy a spill, grab some napkins, and bend down to wipe it up. She didn't create the spill, yet she didn't hesitate to be the one who cleaned it up before someone got hurt. Olwen is that kind of person. I suspect every successful church has several people like her, who take it on themselves to do the small things that need to be done. Service is their nature. Perhaps they are too busy to think of it as their spiritual practice.
So I sat down my cup, picked up a couple of napkins, and went over and mopped up the coffee. Would I have done that if I hadn't recently seen Olwen do it? Or would I have shrugged and thought, Hey, not in my job description? I don't know. I do feel sure Olwen just did what ought to be done and moved on, without a thought as to whether anyone was watching. But often, the universe--or at least the cat--has its eye on you.