Yesterday we walked out to the lighthouse that announces the rocks and cliffs on one side of the Golden Gate. There were daffodils blooming along the way. It seems surprising they would be blooming this time of year, and it was a lovely treat, a sign of planning by someone, or many someones, a gift.
We went down to the beach and watched the waves which were exquisite. As they broke, there was a lovely defining of the spray. Each time, we gasped with the beauty. In the soft gray light, we noticed what might have been obscured on a brighter day.
It was odd then to read this piece of news about people stampeding a Wal-Mart to buy things no one needs. We are not talking about starving people here, hungry for food. We are talking about people in line for a $9.00 DVD of Incredible Hulk.
I know this is one incident in a huge country, a huge world, but it is a tragic statement on greed, ego, and the mob.
I remember being down by the Metreon in SF. I was strolling around outside, waiting to meet some people. A man had just jumped off the roof and was lying covered on the ground. There is a church right there, so I went in and sat for awhile, hoping to ease the man's transition in some way. It is hard to imagine that one would be the cause of someone's death or in the vicinity, and then continue shopping. Animals pause to honor the dead, to show respect. They don't eat or take more than they need. Where is the pause that would allow these people to stop and think? What are they thinking this morning? Do they think? How do they feel as they hold a piece of plastic in their hands? Do they consider the cost?
Perhaps any one of us is capable of this. I think an incident like this allows each of us to pause and consider what we value, what truly matters, and perhaps pulls us even further from the shopping mall and the need to consume. This one incident may drop retail sales this year even lower than they might have been. It certainly asks one to stop for prayer, to say, please, give me more awareness, so I never lose sight of why I am here.