Staring Down

Do you ever wonder why you are where you are at any given moment?

Often it doesn’t make sense. We know life is a procession of instances where we learn and/or share what has already been learned, but far too often the sardonic adage of when you’re up to your neck in alligators it’s difficult to remember the original objective was draining the swamp comes to mind. It’s easy to say “trust God – Romans 8:28.” It’s quite a different thing to do when you’re recalling a loved one now gone away, wishing with all you have you could talk to them jut once more. Heaven awaits those who believe, yet eternity remains an eternity away.

Lessons learned at my employer prior to the current one occasionally come to mind, and often come in quite handy where I now work. It would be easy to say said lessons were why I was there. However, there was one moment when … well, here’s the story.

I held the not terribly lofty position of customer service manager. Translation: I was responsible for servicing the customers by expediting their sojourn through the checkstands. A tad difficult when you were at the last remaining store in the Western Hemisphere that rang everything manually, and on any day ending in a y you didn’t have enough cashiers, thus forcing you to call department heads who were invariably swamped with their own projects. But hey. Someone had to pay for those illegal museum shipments. But I digress.

One afternoon, a customer approached me holding a ladies wallet. She said she had found it in one of the potted plants outside the store. Said wallet had the individual’s drivers license, cellphone, and car keys, leading to the logical conclusion they would be looking for it. I thanked the guest, and doubtless in direct violation of any number of the company’s five bajillion rules designed to turn all into mindless drones (but hey, it gave us Sunday off) held on to the wallet instead of immediately having it locked away in the store safe.

A few minutes later, a police officer came in and asked me if we carried marbles; his son wanted some. It occurred to me to mention the wallet. He said he’d keep an eye out for anyone looking for it.

Shortly thereafter, a young woman entered the store. She was very petite and not unattractive. She headed straight toward me and said, “I believe you have something of mine.” Which I did; a quick glance at the drivers license declared the wallet was hers.

I handed it to her.

She began to cry.

Now, I’ve been in similar situations where tears of relief came in response to a returned, intact wallet or purse. Thus, I commented it was okay.

Actually, no it wasn’t, as the young woman replied with the reason she was crying.

Her father had just died.

Needless to say, this was not a topic covered in the customer service manager handbook.

The young woman asked if there was somewhere she could sit down. The only thing available was the store wheelchair, so I grabbed it and sat her down. She said she desperately needed to use the restroom, so I pushed her in the wheelchair across the store to same.

Once she emerged, she said she didn’t think she could stand, so I sat her back down in the wheelchair and gave her a slow tour of the store, alternating between expressing sentiments shared by those of us in the unfortunate fellowship she had now entered and doing my best to comfort her. Sometimes she cried. Sometimes she even laughed at one of my silly comments. And so we continued for a half-hour or so until she felt together enough to drive home. We hugged, and she left.

I haven’t seen her since.

I pray she’s doing okay.

I pray I did my Dad proud.

And yes, I believe that moment was why I was there.

Of Magic And Loss

What a mess this world is in
I wonder who began it
Don’t ask me
I’m only visiting this planet

— Larry Norman

The news cut through social media yesterday and today, the liberal Obama staffer husband of conservative new media darling Mary Katherine Ham killed while riding his bicycle. Sympathies to Ms. Ham, and to the couple’s young daughter, now left fatherless, plus the couple’s unborn child who will never know his or her father.

Life on Earth is an endless parade of magic and loss, the joys of life and love running parallel with the sorrow of goodbyes. It focuses, or at least ought to focus, our attention on what matters: faith, family, friends. Far too often, priorities are skewed in favor of the temporary and temporal. We rant about that which, or who, offends us; we rave on behalf of that which, or who, floats our boat. We argue the meaningless, then are immersed in utter astonishment when the unfortunate fellowship pays a visit.

A side note. I am mindful of Ms. Ham’s lengthy and deep connection with Salem Media; she is a former writer for Townhall and current writer for HotAir along with being a frequent guest on Hugh Hewitt’s show. I am equally mindful that Salem practices complete separation between its political and religious divisions. Here’s the deal.

Salem has a bunch of Christian-only websites and radio stations/programs. Okay, fine.

Salem has a bunch of politics-only websites and radio stations/programs. Um, okay.

Now, the assorted political pundits who talk and/or write for Salem will claim the mantle of Christian at the drop of a hat. Well, except for Allahpundit at HotAir with his whiny-ass atheism and Dennis Prager & Michael Medved’s Judaism. But they’re conservatives, so nothing else matters. Right, Salem?

Now, ask any of the Salem politicos to so much as breathe a word about Christ, or especially to support those serving Christ, on their show and/or website. “What? WHAT?!! We can’t do that. It might turn people off who follow us for our politics! We’ll talk about Jesus over here … maybe. Now go sit in your corner and quit bothering us.” I have personal experience with this, having received nothing but silence or cheap shot insults back when I tried to reach Hugh Hewitt and his radio show producer Duane Patterson about perhaps coming on the show to discuss my book. Of course Hewitt can promote his religious tomes all he wishes. Also worth noting is the time a couple of years back when Daniel Amos leader and Christian music giant Terry Scott Taylor was in a very bad place financially. Patterson was informed of this. He was begged to have Hewitt say something about it on air on behalf of the fundraising campaign mounted by Taylor’s friends and fans. Did he? No. Hypocritical? You betcha.

But don’t say so out loud. At least not on social media. Point this out and you’re a malcontent. A troublemaker. You don’t understand. You can’t mix religion and politics! Well, we can … but we don’t.

Of course not.

Well, how important are your politics now, Hugh Hewitt and Duane Patterson? How much comfort will Donald Trump not knowing the names of Islamic terror groups leaders bring to a young widow? What assurance of faith and life eternal will come from hosting a Presidential debate, Salem Media? To the point, how do you justify building a platform, then failing to use same to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

You will see and hear much weeping on Salem websites and radio shows over Ms. Ham’s loss. Which is proper. But once the moment has passed, it will be business as usual.

Which is everyone’s loss.

(This was originally published on Da Tech Guy Blog.)