Posted in Life

Just pour it out

One of the baristas suddenly walked over to the mobile order pickup spot, looked at the stickers on some hot and cold drinks, dumped them out, and threw out two or three food bags. I sat and wondered, “How often does that happen? How many people order online and never pick up? And why would anyone do that?”

Since this Starbucks is just off the interstate, many of their customers are traveling north or south on I-95 through northeast Florida. The food sign a mile or so before the exit might prompt travelers to open the app to place their order for a quick pick up. But then the driver gets distracted by a big truck on his tail or is yelling at children in the back seat or is fiddling with the radio and misses the exit. “What are you doing? I already ordered the coffee! Oh, never mind.”

Or, having ordered through the app, the interstate traffic suddenly comes to a stop. An accident has shut down all the lanes and no one is going anywhere for a while. An hour later, the hot drinks are cool and the cold drinks are room temperature. Down the drain they go.

Perhaps a child has borrowed mom’s phone to play a game or watch a video and happens upon the app. “I wonder what this does? Ooh, that looks good!” Before you know it, an order is on its way. Later in the day, a puzzled parent asks, “Were you on the app?” The wise and clever child replies, “I don’t know.”

It could be a prank by “friends” who notice your phone is unlocked. You know, the same friends who change the language on your phone. Or had those pizzas delivered to your house.

There are thousands of Starbucks in the US. Maybe you placed the order at the wrong store. And you were pretty aggravated when your order wasn’t waiting for you at the wrong store.

How long does an order sit there before being poured out? Let’s say it’s an hour. I could wander over at about 59 minutes to see what’s available for “pickup.” Yeah, my conscience probably wouldn’t let me get away with that.  I wonder how many online orders are picked up by someone else? What would happen when the customer shows up at the one hour and five minute mark looking for their order?

Posted in Israel

I spy…all kinds of things

A rooftop just below the house of Caiaphas

We had just been in Caiaphas’ house. We had just descended into the sub-basement, the “pit” as it were, where Jesus may have been held while awaiting his first trial before the high priest. I had just read Psalm 69 to our group, remembering who to look to when we feel like we are in “the pit.” We climbed back out of the pit, passed by a place which could have been where Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.

I casually looked down from the courtyard where we were standing and saw a rooftop piled with all kinds of trash. In the picture you can see

  • A shopping cart
  • Milk crates
  • Scooters
  • A door
  • Five gallon buckets
  • Wicker shelves
  • Wood pallets
  • Barbed wire
  • Bicycles
  • A wheelbarrow
  • Tires and wheels
  • Refrigerator
  • Rake
  • Washing machine
  • Cememt mixer (?)
  • Dish antenna
  • Rebar and cinderblocks
  • Skateboard

You might be able to pick out even more discarded items. I’ll bet there are stories for each of the things that someone either tossed onto or carried up to the roof.

The reality of present day trash interrupted my meditations on the arrest and trial of Jesus, which led to his suffering and death on the cross. Then again, I’m sure they had a lot of refuse at Jesus’ time, too.

Our street looks like this on trash days. But we also put out furniture, mowers and trimmers and mattresses. I guess the age old question has always been, “What are we going to do with all this trash?”

Posted in Life

A pile of stuff

It looks like the rental property just a few houses up from mine is turning over once again. How do I know? Most of the contents of the house been evicted, only to find a new home on the front lawn. A pile of sofas is also staged inside the garage, waiting for their trip to the curb.

It’s a small home, it’s been a rental for a long time, and it’s had a number of tenants over the years. The thing that caught my attention this time is that most of the stuff out front seems to be smashed, broken, cracked, dented and otherwise damaged. Were all the drawers from that dresser broken apart inside the house? Were all those bike wheels bent and twisted? Were those chairs ripped and torn? Or did those emptying out the house damage everything on the way out the door? Was it deliberate? Frustration? Anger?

The contents of our homes tell a story, don’t they? It might be a happy story, of times spent with family and friends. It might be a sad story, of violence or even death. Spread out on the street, they might announce that you just got new furniture or remodeled your home. They might also reveal the consequences of losing your job or the health to live in that home anymore.

You might not want to share that story with the world. But sometimes, your trash has much to say about what’s going on in your life.

Posted in church, Grace, Rant

Keep your stuff. Please.

0006294200035_00It must have been the creaking sound that got my attention. What is that noise? It seemed to be coming from the freezer in the church kitchen. Freezers don’t usually make a lot of noise. Unless someone is trapped in there. Overly cautious, I slowly opened the door and peeked inside.

Perched on the top shelf is a three-gallon bucket of maple walnut ice cream with no lid. It was surrounded by several bags of ice that had been permanently joined together in a moment of melting. Their combined weight strained the top shelf like a bar on the back of a weightlifter squatting who-knows-how-many pounds.squat

But that’s not all. On the shelves beneath were ancient hot dog buns, vintage popsicles, and something orange left over from what I am sure was a fabulous supper. Nice. By the grace of God, it was all disposed of before the health department caught wind of the situation.

There is, as everyone knows, an unwritten rule that anything you don’t want or need — animal, vegetable or mineral — may be dropped off at the church. Common items include books (including many, many bibles), old computers, printers and monitors (working or non-working), TVs, walkers, crutches and commodes, out-dated food, pianos and electric keyboards, broken toys and dried up pens and markers.

To this collection we add other items unintentionally left at church: umbrellas, jewelry, keys (how did you drive home?), clothing (did you go home naked?), water bottles, sweaters and sweatshirts, and every imaginable variety of Tupperware.

I appreciate you thinking of us. But I need to tell you: we just reduced the size of our dumpster. So we don’t have the same disposal capacity we used to. I apologize for the inconvenience, but you might just have to put your stuff out on the curb yourself.


Posted in neighbor, Rant

The red sofa

IMG-7566OK, it’s really a love seat. But it is really red. And I see it every time I leave my house or come back home. Because it sits, faithfully, on my neighbor’s lawn.

If you ask me, it shouldn’t have a place in someone’s yard. It shouldn’t have a place in someone’s house, either. Three weeks ago my neighbor put it out on the curb, assuming that the garbage men would pick it up. Nope. They didn’t want it either. It has now been soaked by the rains, ignored on bulk pick up days, and endured the intense heat of the October Florida sun. Passing dogs have baptized it, bugs have taken up residence in it, and mold has begun to thrive in it.

It doesn’t seem to bother my neighbor at all. He cuts the lawn around it. He stacks weekly trash against it. It has joined his unsightly array of halloween, occult and just plain ugly lawn ornaments.

I suppose there are times in life when you need a red sofa. Like when you’re going to murder someone in your living room. Or you’re bleeding from some orifice. Maybe you’re addicted to ketchup. Think about it. Someone actually made this love seat. Someone actually bought it. And yes, now someone has set it out in the yard for all to enjoy.

Just wait — I’m going to come up with a story to go with it.