Tag Archives: challenges

Lord, Have Mercy

Given what is going on in the world right now, I thought this might be appropriate . . .

“100-year storm!”

The elevator doors whooshed shut behind Marcus and he then proceeded to shake his head like a terrier, water droplets pelting everyone within 5 feet. Two people chuckled and moved away but one stayed and offered Marcus a towel.

“With this rain it could be a busy night but I’m hoping it’s the opposite”.

Lila was a petite brunette who usually smiled at everyone and everything. But when she was sad, her emotions spilled over everywhere. Marcus felt protective of her. She was just out of school and this was her first job. A heavy responsibility for a mentor.

“It’ll be fine kid. The rain can’t last. But I must say I have never seen it raining quite this hard or for this long. That weatherperson actually called it a 100-year storm. Seems we haven’t had one this bad in over a hundred years. I don’t believe it. They just say that to get people going.  It helps their ratings.”

Marcus proceeded to put away his rain-soaked jacket. Every hospital has a group of people no one knows about. Or rather they just don’t think about them. These are the people that make sure the lights are working, the automatic doors stay automatic and the heat keeps everyone warm on those chilly days.  Marcus was one of those people, part of a team. Some of his coworkers were full time and others, like Lila, worked part time. This was one day Marcus thought they might actually be working hard for their pay. Storms can wreck havoc with all kinds of systems.

Lila handed Marcus his first cup of coffee for the evening. There always seemed to be a full pot of coffee brewing. It helped during those sometimes-endless night shifts.

Marcus wrapped his hands around his cup and sighed.

“I heard there was a little excitement earlier. What’s going on? Is there anything I need to know?”

Marcus looked at Lila as he spoke and was surprised to see her face turn as white as a sheet. Her eyes grew wide, her jaw slack.

“Lila?”

When she spoke, her voice was low and forced. She didn’t want to speak. But she knew Marcus needed to know.

“I hope it isn’t true. But it doesn’t feel right. What if he is? What if he’s angry with what we’ve done, or what we haven’t done? I, I’m afraid!”

Panic. Lila’s already small body seemed to shiver and folded in on itself. Marcus was bewildered, concerned!

“What is going on?”

He grabbed Lila’s arms, he spoke more briskly then he meant to . . .

“What . .  Is. .  Going. . On?”

“Let her go. I’ll tell you what’s going on. You can decide.”

Marcus quickly let go and turned to face the new voice. It was another co-worker.  John was the unflappable sort. He had a good head for numbers and was a killer at crossword puzzles. He was also wearing a worried expression on his face.

With a quick look at the raging storm just outside their window, the three sat down. Lila composed herself but she still looked shaken. John took the lead.

“We had an intake a few hours ago. In the Emergency Room. A man was brought in bleeding from several cuts on his head and both his hands. Nothing too outrageous. When he was asked what his name was, he said Jesus Christ.”

Marcus started to grin.

“Yeah, we get those every now and then. Delusional people. They’re just looking for a warm bed in the psych ward and a free meal.”

He shook his head, seeming to brush everything off. His grin was firmly in place.

“Besides it doesn’t affect us down here. Did he break anything?”

“I don’t think so,” John whispered,  “but I don’t think you understand. He sounded . . . Holy.”

Lila started to whimper. “He’s angry with us!”

Marcus jumped up from his chair.

“The second coming? That’s what you’re thinking aren’t you? Look, we get these crazies all the time! What makes this one different?”

“All over the world there’s excessive flooding and forest fires and outbreaks of diseases and, and . . .”  Lila couldn’t continue.

“Well, what did the doctors do? I’ll bet they put him on a 72-hour psych hold. The rain will give up tomorrow morning and all of this will be something we laugh about tomorrow night. It’s just another crazy.”

“You didn’t hear Him speak.” whispered John.  “You didn’t hear His words.  I did.”

“Okay I’ll bite, what did the crazy man say?”

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

It was at that exact moment that the lights flickered and died.

Lord, have mercy.

 

The end

Efficiency

 

I was in my kitchen the other day stirring together two powders to make my version of chai latte. I take a powdered chai and a powdered white-hot chocolate and mixed them together. It’s a little less spicy than regular chai and a little less sweet then white-hot chocolate. It takes a little time, stirring to make the combination right.  But in the end:  a perfect morning cuppa!

As I was mindlessly stirring the two powders together, my brain drifted to the question of efficiency. For a brief second I wondered if there was a more efficient way of mixing these two. And then I was horrified!  We endeavor to make our lives easier by inventing devices to do the mundane deeds. Like mixing together two powders. And then I stopped. If I had a device do the work for me, I would never have had the time to think about just how inefficient efficiency is.

Perhaps I should explain. Efficiency comes from being efficient. The definition of efficient is:  achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense or working in a well-organized and competent way or preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource. You must love Google search.

Maximum productivity. That sounds good. Well organized, a minimum effort, competent and my favourite:  preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource. What about us? All the tools we create to make our lives easier actually prevent us from actually ‘doing’. We sit in our armchairs and direct from a distance but we don’t get our hands dirty. I think a little dirt is called for. How else are we going to learn?

Ask anyone who creates just how that feels. Ask a woodworker, an artist, a chef. They take of themselves and create. Machines can’t! Or at least not yet. We need machines to assist us as tools. That is a given and I accept that. What I do not accept is people giving up control. We defer to whatever our phone happens to say but we never think to wonder if we have asked the right question.

I used to bake bread. It was a long drawn out process, I had to get my hands dirty. And I loved it! I would follow the recipe to a certain point and then I would become creative. A bread maker can’t do that. Only human hands can. Machines follow directions given to them by human beings. Machines build cars nowadays because they’re more efficient then people. But they’re not perfect. Ask anyone who drives a car that stops when it rains. Machines can’t find the problem and fix it, only people can. So why do we continually bow to the machines that we created to make our lives easier?

Do we use the time we supposedly gain from using machines to better ourselves or our environment? No. We’ll use that time to work harder so that we can afford to buy machines to make our life easier so that we can work harder so that we can . . . It’s a vicious cycle.

Machines are tools that we should never give up control to. Let’s not lose our ability to think. It’s one of the few things we have left.

 

A New Year

 

A brand New Year has come

And I don’t know what to think

Global warming, hate and fear

This world appears to stink!

 

But hope is here and faithfulness

A kindness in our soul

All together we are one

And that will make us whole!

 

There is time to make it right

A wondrous world to be

Change must now begin today

Let’s start with you and me!