It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened." 1st Kings 18:27
Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19b
Irony always makes me laugh. This is true whether it is cleverly revealed in a story, in a show, and especially when it happens in real life.
Irony is often a little tricky to clearly define and explain to young writers, but once they have it, they will begin seeing it all around them.
I enjoy irony...and I even enjoy when it occurs at my own expense.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. This is a time when all of us should be reflecting on our behavior, our habits, our faith, and how we can do a little better in our walk of faith. Living our faith is extremely important to me, even though I am often guilty of not practicing what I preach.
But today it made me laugh!
Here is what happened: I was standing in line at a store waiting to make my snack purchase. I noticed that a family of Muslims was standing right behind me. Two of the children were very small and adorable. I was facing toward the register when I suddenly heard a loud FLOP right behind me and felt something very cold on my pants legs. I turned around and saw that one of the little girls had dropped her vanilla shake, which exploded all over the floor and all over my nice, black pants.
Now let's see...how could this scene have progressed from here?
1. I could have turned around and given a big SIGH and then made my way to the paper napkins to clean off my pants.
2. I could have given the little kids my old "teacher look" which would have frozen them in their spots.
3. I could have muttered something nasty about little kids - or worse, little Muslims kids! - and I could have used the usual racist garbage that we all hear so much of today.
4. I could have ignored the obviously embarrassed father who was running to get the napkins to help me clean up. I could have acted pious and cool...and stuffy.
Instead, I just said, "Whoops!" to the little girl and assured her and her mother with a big smile that it was okay. When I met the father at the napkin dispenser, he began apologizing profusely, but I just smiled again and told him it was okay. Then I showed him how easily it came off my pants and shoes.
Finally, when I went back to the counter, everyone seemed to melt out of my way. I just ordered my stuff, paid for it, and left. I made sure no one thought it was any big deal from my point of view.
In my car, I began to laugh when I realized how many times in my life I might have reacted with one of the options I listed above. I have done and said some pretty stupid things in my life, but I try to live what I believe. That means trying my best, even when it is a little tricky, even when I'm tired or cranky or in a hurry - or embarrassed...
Especially when it's Ash Wednesday, aren't we all supposed to be thinking about how to make ourselves a little better?