Frequent readers know I stop other things from time to time and just discipline myself to write devotional materials for a certain time. Ahem, ergo, vis a vis, for the month of September, I will try to produce 30 devotional statements over at http://aintsobad.typepad.com/pastorspal/. You can click here, I hope or go to my blog box and click on pastor's pal. The material is free and worth what you pay for it, as usual.
And Now A Story
By Rick Davis
I went into my favorite coffee spot yesterday. The usual crowd was there and few others besides. The crew behind the counter acknowledged me, just as they are trained to do. I went to my usual table, set down my computer bag and, cup in hand, made my way to the counter to be served.
My computer bag sits in plain sight on the table, where I could watch it. I never have any trouble in my coffee shop. I leave my bag on my table every day. It is common practice, even though I have, in my bag, my Dell Inspiron 700m computer with the XP-Pro-OS and a million memories on its 3 gigs of Ram. I have my favorite pens in the bag and some of my journals, along with a book of poetry and one of history and my Bible. It is my office in a bag.
Yesterday, however, a strange thing happened. A fellow I did not know walked over to my table. He opened my bag and began to look at its contents. I could not believe my eyes at first. Was I looking at the wrong table? Was it his bag he rifled through quickly, zipped back up and flung over his shoulder?
I looked and looked and checked and, lo, the man had my bag. He had my bag, with my possessions, over his shoulder and was headed out the door.
"Hey," I shouted, brilliantly. "Hey."
He did not stop but only threw me a determined look over his shoulder. He was a no-nonsense guy, it seemed. He was on his way gone. He seemed to be put out with me for shouting "Hey," at his retreating form.
"Hey," I yelled again, since it worked so well the first time. This time he did not look in my direction. He simply pushed open the door, stalked out in long strides and checked the traffic when he got to the sidewalk.
Suddenly freed from my deep reverie, I bolted after him. He was half way across the street when I reached him. I did not so much accost him, or even accuse him,as I did try to explain myself. Walking beside him, I told him he must have taken my bag by mistake. I wanted him to give me back my bag.
"It was no mistake to take your bag, friend," he replied. "I have watched you for some time. I thought you would put down your bag with your computer and your pens and your journals and your big books. I was determined to get them."
"Why would you do this to me?" I demanded of him.
"I took your bag because you don't seem to know its value. You just leave it on the table," he told me.
"I watch my bag," I replied this time, growing hotter. "And, even with that, I don't know where you get off taking it. My bag is mine, not yours."
"Oh, it is mine if I can get it," he said, peering out from under arched eyebrows. "And I don't think you should let yourself be so easily side-tracked."
"What?" I demanded.
"You're a writer. You know you're a writer. You know you spend the mornings reading and researching and writing," he lectured me. "Yet, here you stand in the street arguing with me about your bag when you should be writing."
"I would be writing," I was now screaming. "I would be writing, if you had not taken my bag."
"Oh, for goodness sake," he admonished. "Get back in there and sit and think. Borrow a pen. Write on a napkin. You are letting yourself get all worked up over this. You are going to ruin your reputation out here arguing with me."
"I want my bag," I told him, this time, very firmly and gripped the shoulder strap of my bag, hanging, as it did, on his shoulder.
"You have to move on," he told me just as firmly. "You are taking all my time and your time. I am really astonished at you. I did not think you were the kind of fellow who would chase me out of a coffee shop and into traffic. Really, you need to get a grip."
"You are acting in a very unintellectual manner," he added.
"I am embarrassed for you," he finished.
At this, he set his hand against mine, pushed me back and tried to stagger on with me barely hanging on to my own bag strap.
We went on this way for a few more steps, until we were met by two other men, men I knew, who seemed also to know the thief.
"What are you doing to this poor man?" they asked in unison.
I did not answer.
I did not think they were speaking to me. I could not imagine they were talking to me.
"Let go of this poor fellow," they cried. "He has done you no harm. Let him go."
"He has my bag with my computer and my pens and my journals and my books," I answered. I thought that would change their thinking.
"He has the right to supply himself as well as you," they answered in unison. "Let him go. Let him alone. Can't you see you are distressing him?"
"I want my bag back," I told them all.
"Move on," they all three chimed in unison now.
"You have to move on. Let go of the shoulder strap. Let go of the bag. Move on. Don't be sidetracked. What is wrong with you? Move on, move on, move on," they seemed chanted, in agreement as to their seeming disgust with me.
They finally pushed me down. All three were needed but they got me down. While I lay there, they kicked me and kicked me. While they kicked me they laughed. When I could fight them no more, they kicked me a few more times.
"That will teach you to move on," one said.
"All this over a bag," two said.
"Remember to pray for us," three told me.
"Yes," they sang in unison.
"Pray for us, Pray for us, Pray for us,
For We have a brand new bag."
Then, they were gone. Gone, happily out of sight with my bag, while I could only sit in the dust, dir
ty and stained, disheveled and in pain. Gone, with my bag, singing as they went.
I tell you it was a curious day.