The wife has been really sick lately, and so we took her to the doctor today. I parked the car and picked up my copy of Donald Miller’s new Searching for God Knows What to take to the waiting room (so I wouldn’t have to finger all of those uber-germy doctor’s office magazines). I was a little bugged that I couldn’t find a seat with a buffer (you know, when you can’t find a spot with an empty seat next to you and you have to actually sit right next to two people). But I settled in and continued to read his fascinating book. About how part of the penalty for Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden was that people forevermore would automatically live out that awful ‘values clarification’ exercise known as The Lifeboat (where –typically– a lawyer, a doctor, a grandma, a disabled child, and a football player sit in an undersized, underequipped lifeboat and the group is asked to decide who should be pitched overboard). That, from childhood, we constantly compare ourselves with others, fighting to find some advantage over them. Anyway, I was agreeing with Miller’s thesis, and seeing how true it was, and really digging the chapter on Jesus– on how he came and said ‘who needs a lifeboat?’ and treated everyone as equally and completely valuable. And then I looked around the waiting room and thought, yeah, but this situation is different. I mean, most of these people are really, really old, and almost every single one of them is awfully sick. And then I dove back into my book. The nagging thought that I was living out the lifeboat in this very room dogged me for about 15 minutes, but I pressed on in my reading.
But I will say this for myself: when an old guy cut in line in front of me at the pharmacy later, I didn’t say anything. Not even my patented, “did you want to go ahead of me?”