Recently, knowing that I work at Compassion, a friend sent me a silly video bemoaning all the difficult problems we face here in the developed world. They include atrocities such as:
- I can never find the right lid for my Tupperware.
- The freezer makes my ice cream hard to scoop.
- There’s some cereal left in the bag, but not enough to fill a bowl.
- My walk-in closet door is kind of hard to close.
- The other side of my pillow is not much cooler.
I can especially relate to the last one, as the temperature in my bedroom was roughly 175 degrees last night. Give or take a few degrees.
I do also hate it when I can’t find a lid for any of my entire drawer full of Tupperware. I suspect they are in league with all my left socks.
And my pantry door is hard to close! It takes me roughly two extra seconds to shut each time I get a snack. This guy knows about my problems.
Watching the video, I couldn’t help being reminded of a movie that convicted me many years ago: You’ve Got Mail. Yes, romantic comedies are key to spiritual conviction, so you men should all go watch one with your wives, preferably a circa-1990s Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan one.
In the convicting scene, Tom Hanks is trapped in an elevator with several neighbors and his girlfriend. The experience has brought clarity and epiphany to his two neighbors, who vow that they’re going to be better boyfriends or mothers. (My memory is a bit cloudy here, so don’t hold me to that exactly.)
While his neighbors experience this touching moment, Hanks looks over to see his girlfriend rummaging through her purse with great exasperation and annoyance. She shouts at the injustice of the world,
“Where are my Tic Tacs?!”
Though it’s just a romantic comedy, I’ve always found this scene quite convicting. In the grand scheme of the universe, how much of my time is wasted groaning about my “problems?”
I’ve decided to call these problems my “developed-world temper tantrums”:
- Complaining to my husband about my 78-degree home (OK, so it wasn’t really 175 degrees) as I drink ice water from the fridge and watch a movie on my laptop in bed … while others spend 15 hours in 100+-degree heat working a field for peanuts.
- Sighing in annoyance when my lawn mower for mowing my pretty green lawn is out of gas … while others are homeless or squatting on others’ land in scrap-metal homes.
- Slamming the Tupperware drawer after giving up on finding a lid that fits and having to turn to plastic wrap instead (I’m sure you’re far more mature than I and would never do this) … while others don’t have food to store or a fridge to store it in.
I do have real problems, just as you do. But these aren’t them.
How much of our energy is wasted on our developed-world tantrums?
How much of our joy is stolen by the Tic Tacs that hide (admittedly, quite maddeningly) at the bottom of our purses?
I don’t want to be that gal who, I admit, sometimes, somehow, creeps out. So instead I vow to pause each time I feel a developed-world tantrum coming on.
I will pause and thank God for the tire that I have to go flat, the sprinklers that I have to break, the shirt that I have to get a cherry-juice stain on.
I’ll pray that God will give me perspective to have His peace and joy in this world, rather than having it stolen by my “problems.”
And lastly, I’ll pray that God will help and protect those who don’t have all the things I have to break, stain, and complicate my life.
I’ll pray that my attitude of annoyance would be transformed into an attitude of love and compassion for others … who don’t have a pillow with two hot sides.