The Blood Suckers
During a large part of my childhood my father was in school, so we never really went on a traditional “vacation” until late in my elementary school years. I distinctly remember one of our first trips, where we left the suburbs of New York City for the beauty of New England. We finished the first day not quite to our destination, but there was a small pond next to the motel we were staying in.
My brother and I somehow convinced my parents to allow us to take a dip. Unfortunately, our time in this strange body of water was cut short as these strange, quarter-size creatures had attached themselves to numerous parts of our bodies. While we found this quite interesting, my mother did not.
“Leeches! Hold still, I need to get them off you!”
It turned out these odd looking worm-like beasts were sucking our blood. And needless to say, they needed to be removed. A leech provides an interesting metaphor for our lives doesn’t it? There are circumstances and lies and, dare I say people, that can suck the life force right out of us. And the hard part is that oftentimes we don’t even know it is happening. My brother and I had no idea that these little worms were doing. And this is where mature, safe-brothers and sisters can help us pull the proverbial leeches out and restore us to health.
Stuart Strachan Jr.
The Controversial Cookies
A traveler, between flights at an airport, went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies. Then she sat down and began reading a newspaper. Gradually, she became aware of a rustling noise. From behind her paper, she was flabbergasted to see a neatly dressed man helping himself to her cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took a cookie herself.
A minute or two passed, and then came more rustling. He was helping himself to another cookie! After a while they came to the end of the package with one cookie left, but she was so angry she didn’t dare allow herself to say anything. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the man broke the remaining cookie in two, pushed half across to her, ate the other half, and left.
Still fuming sometime later when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket. To her shock and embarrassment, there she found her package of unopened cookies!
How to Get to Dublin
An old Irish joke tells how a tourist in the County of Cork asks a local man how to get to the big city of Dublin. “Ah,” responds the local man with a deeply furrowed brow, “I wouldn’t be starting from here.”
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age, 2015, Brazos Press.
The Progress Paradox
Yet despite all of these advancements, we are more discontent than ever. Gregg Easterbrook wrote a book on this very topic entitled The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. In First World countries, he argues, even as the advances I have just cataloged have materially improved the physical comfort level of everyone in those societies, the rates of depression and psychosis continue to rise.
People feel their lives lack meaning, and they can’t seem to find any remedy to the plague of their own consistent discontentment. A clear example is transportation across long distances. It has never been easier, and yet still we complain!
I remember sitting recently in a brand-new airport terminal reading a historical account of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower crossing the North Atlantic in perilous conditions in November of 1620. These intrepid people lived for many weeks in the dark and crowded below-deck area, eating cold biscuits and putting up with the stench of the vomit caused by the incessantly heaving little ship.
A clear example is transportation across long distances. It has never been easier, and yet still we complain! I remember sitting recently in a brand-new airport terminal reading a historical account of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower crossing the North Atlantic in perilous conditions in November of 1620. These intrepid people lived for many weeks in the dark and crowded below-deck area, eating cold biscuits and putting up with the stench of the vomit caused by the incessantly heaving little ship. A woman even gave birth in that setting.
As I was reading this book, I overheard a well-dressed businessman as he was walking by me, talking with immense annoyance on a cell phone: “Yeah, it was a total nightmare! We were sitting on the tarmac for over an hour before we finally took off! Now I’m probably going to miss my connecting flight!” His voice trailed off as he bustled past me, and I chuckled to myself about his perspective. He was certainly not thinking how blessed we are to be able to cover thousands of miles by air in the astonishing comfort of a modern jet.