Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And then a day in the ghetto...

I was late to work this morning (shocker, right?) so instead of taking a lunch I just planned to run to the nearest gas station to stock up on Dr Pepper and something snacky. After successfully maneuvering through the maze of the CBC parking lot I turned up my radio to find this song just beginning. I did what any normal person would--jammed all the way to the gas station, rushed in and out, and managed to catch the last few bars as the song ended.

Come on, you don't believe that, do you?

Instead, I just drove until the song ended and stopped at the nearest gas station, which happened to be this little gem:

(we'll talk about how much I love google map's street view another time)

This place was great...after ducking under the array of tshirts hanging from the ceiling I grabbed a couple DP and caught myself before nearly tripping over several poorly arranged stacks of drinks in the middle of the floor. I carefully retraced my path to the front and got in line behind two of the south's finest. Except not so much. . . One guy was shirtless and incredibly rude to the cashier. I'm not sure his pal knew how to count money, he just laid all he had down and let the man behind the counter take what he needed, which wasn't easy with shirtless-boy still wandering around and mouthing off. He eventually asked him to leave, finished up with the math whiz, and gave me a tired smile while rolling his eyes.

Until this point I'd been thinking, "Ok, note to self: don't come here again," but something about the cashiers expression made me rethink that.

I grew up in a city where the majority of the families with money left as soon as they could. Some people label it as white-flight, but I think it was less of a race issue and more related to financial status. On the surface it makes sense, if the town is falling down around you, get out. Go someplace safer, with more opportunities.

But, what if we took another approach. A radical approach. Instead of fleeing from these places that aren't exactly safe or prosperous, we flock to them. We become the salt and the light. Light places don't need more light, it is the dark places that need Hope and Truth.

Imagine yourself in the cashier's position, day after day, seeing nothing but punks and being disrespected again and again. Would a smile and a "thank you" from one customer make a difference?

Love is a life lived on purpose.

Edit: Similar thoughts by someone wiser can be found here.

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