Our local bank recently changed their password protection for its accounts. They sent out letters, and posted online, that the intended change which would occur on September 30th, informing people that they should sign onto their account before that date and make the new password changes; failure to do so would result in being locked out of the account. One of my parishioners put off dealing with this until the day came and she could not access her account online. A phone number was given for help, so she called. When she called and explained her frustration, the response from the bank person was: “Well, it’s your own fault. You should have read the fine print.” WHAT?! Aside from the fact that the money in the bank is our money and that we are only loaning it to the bank to use, the disrespect of this response really took my breath away.
But then, we currently live in a general culture of disrespect. For example, I was moving my cart towards a register when a woman came around the corner, saw me heading for the register, sped up and cut ahead of me in order to get there first. And she had no more in her cart than I did! Not knowing whether she was seriously dangerous or just rude, I moved to another line. I would hazard a guess and say that this expression of her “me first” mentality was probably not restricted to just the supermarket.
People sometimes puzzle me. I know someone who has a pattern of suddenly cutting people out of his life, of suddenly withdrawing from any relationship with them. I have often wondered: “What is he afraid of?” Is he afraid of the pain that he might feel upon the departure of someone he has come to love? Are his sudden departures a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of personal pain?
I’ve recently been watching a series entitled “Nurse Jackie”. At one point she mentions that she is a twin, although her twin died when they were both one year old. Someone asks her, “Do you remember him?” and Jackie replies, “I remember being with someone from the start.” Are we all looking for the twin of our heart? Is my friend who suddenly departs afraid of what will happen when he finds his heart’s twin?
In Hawaii a lei is not supposed to be donned by a person himself, but rather is placed around the neck by another. The lei is a physical incarnation of Aloha, a manifestation of respect. What would happen, here on the Mainland, were we to, out of the blue, express respect for someone? Would it please them, or frighten them? The next time that woman cuts me off in the line at the supermarket, I’m going to zip away to the flower section, buy a flower, go back and hand it to her, and say “Have a good day.” I wonder what effect that will have within her? Next week when I go to the bank maybe I’ll bring a flower for the Teller. Maybe I’ll have a lei mailed to my friend whom I have not heard from in so long.