A Dose of R’s and 4’s

A few days ago I spilled water on the keyboard of my laptop. I didn’t notice I had spilled and closed the computer, opened it a bit later and Hailey pointed out the pool of water sitting on the R and 4 keys. We wiped it off and went on with our day. Sometime later I started typing and, to my dismay, realized that every word I wrote that had an “r” in it was misspelled. I was furious.

I tried not to be angry, to feel like an idiot or to yell at Hailey (as if my accident had anything to do with her). But I finally gave in. I pouted, paced the room and than flopped on the bed in exhaustion. What was I going to do? I’m in Africa, I couldn’t just run the computer to the nearest Apple store (and Apple, if you read this for some odd reason, you need to work on your presence on this continent-specifically in Malawi. A store in Lilongwe would be much appreciated, thanks). My computer is four years old and I have never had a problem with it. Now with zero technical support, I had a fried keyboard circuit! Really? Great.

After I finished a few minutes of moaning, we decided to walk to the store to pick up some rice and attempt to dry out the keyboard (something I read about years ago after soaking another piece of electrical equipment). While we walked I realized how ridiculous I was acting. I am spoiled. We walked by children on their way home from school without shoes on, by the gas station that hasn’t had petrol for a month because of a nation wide shortage and by a few “wealthy people” on their bicycles (owning a bike is a status symbol). And I’d been whining because one of the THREE computers we brought was no longer fully functioning?

As my computer marinated in rice, I sat and stared at it, reflecting on my anger issue. At home, when I would have these frustrations, I would write them off as a rational response. I would think, “it’s normal to be peeved when something breaks, we can’t afford something we ‘need’ or we don’t get something we ‘deserve’.” It’s human nature, right? Wrong. It’s entitlement. I am not saying it is bad to come from a place of plenty or that we are to feel guilty for our upbringing. I am simply suggesting that those of us that come from much deserve what we have no more than the children with no shoes deserve to have so little. We may have earned much of what we have, but we didn’t start from a level playing field. No one gets to choose what family, country or economic status they are born into. Some will argue that each of us has the opportunity to “pull ourselves up by our boot straps,” or that if one “puts their mind to it they can achieve anything,” but these statements are simply untrue–These kids dont even know what boot straps are.

I’m not positive, but am fairly certain that when Jesus ripped the money changers a new one or exhorted church leaders His anger was very different than what I experienced with my keyboard. I believe he was angry at the entitled for taking advantage of the oppressed or turning a blind eye to the widowed, exiled and the poor. He was frustrated at our self focus and self righteousness. Much of the entitled world needs the same dose of r’s and 4’s that I am experiencing…

  • Mom

    Just read this one to Grandma. We are struck by your insight and hope that we can take on some of the humility that you are discovering on a daily basis. May all our “R’s” and “4’s” lead to further understanding of our place in the world and God’s plan for our lives. We love and miss you–take care, my son.
    MOM