Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm Dancing

I posted a few weeks ago about Dwalin. I have been waiting for that guy to get off the fence for a year now. Friday a good friend went down and spent some time with Dwalin and his wife. They accepted what they have believed for a long time now. Later this week or early next week they will be baptized together. Bringing the small church up to a total of six adults. An exciting aspect to all this is that Dwalin is a teacher in the local school and he is a leader of a group of young guys in the village. Frodo and the team really believe that this could be the breaking of the dam that we have been waiting for. Only the King knows and we will see His will done in His time. Thanks to all who have prayed for the village of Anfalas. Keep praying, the King is at work.

So as not to give anyone the wrong impression of who I am I thought I would tell a story that I try to keep before me often as a paradigm of my own personal wisdom and grace. I was going to travel from Rohan to Minas Tirith several years ago and asked my language helper to set up a taxi for me. My teacher and the taxi driver picked me up early in the morning and we headed for the middle border just an hour and a half away. I hoped to catch a plane just across the border to take me up and over the mountains to the capitol of Gondor. As we approached the border the taxi driver asked if I had any dollars. There might be trouble if I was carrying dollars and they would surely asked a foreigner about this. So, he and my teacher thought it would be best if I gave the dollars to the driver- the border guards would never think to ask him if he had dollars- and then I could truthfully tell them I didn't have any. I did not like this plan. I told them that I had traveled with dollars before and while it is a hassel I could deal with it. No, no, no they insisted that I give the money to the driver and as soon as we crossed the border he would give it back. Finally, for the sake of peace on the road with my driver and language teacher I agreed and gave him the four hundred dollars I had in my bag for the journey. Don't even start on me- I know all the reasons that this was a bad idea.

We crossed the border without incident and he stopped the car. He had gone as far as he could and now I would have to take another taxi on to the airport. He handed me back my money and said, 'Here is your three hundred dollars.' I blew a gasket. "Don't do this to me!" I shouted at him. I hit the back of his seat hard and threatened him. "I gave you four hundred dollars!" He swore up and down this was all he had. He had put the money in his sock- common custom for those crossing the border- and he took his socks off to show me that there was no more. I shouted a bunch more. I implored with my language teacher to help me get my money back. He was shocked and appalled. He had set me up with this guy and now I had lost a hundred dollars. He was ashamed and did not know what to do. Finally, I went on to the airport. There was no plane so I caught another taxi back across the border to Edoras. I decided to stop at my house and get a jacket that I had forgotten before I went on to the main taxi stand to get a taxi down to the southern border and on to Minas Tirith. As I stuffed my jacket in my bag there was the other hundred dollars. I had never given it to him. My teacher was furious with me. "Strider! All that stress and arguing for nothing! And that taxi driver is my neighbor." Oops. If I had known the taxi driver was his neighbor I would have behaved very differently. In fact, for the sake of a witness with my teacher in this culture it would have been better off to just lose a hundred dollars than shame him the way I did.

When I got back from Minas Tirith the next week I took some food to the driver's house and humbly apologized. I paid him twice the value of the trip and apologized some more. Verbally he forgave me but his body language indicated that this would take a while longer to get over. So friends, there you have it. Here in Middle Earth you will be fully justified in losing your temper and blowing up at people ten times a day, but the one time you do you'll be wrong. Wear humility like a cloak and meekness like a warm blanket on a cold day. We need it.


GuyMuse said...

When we first arrived on the field a fellow M told me that there would be many daily battles and to choose wisely which battles to fight, and which to walk away from. That lesson has served me well over the years. Most of the time it is just better to take the loss and move on. But then there are other times when I decide to take a stand on something and hope it is worth the victory/defeat that results. Your post is a good reminder that we must choose carefully our battles!

Debbie said...

The last line in your post struck me especially.

Tim Patterson said...


My first time to comment. Good story. I worked for the same company in a different region. I had a similar embarassing situation happen to me.

Early one morning someone knocked at the door of our flat. I did not recognize him and thought he was a sales person. I had a late night and was not fully awake. So, I was rude and pointed out the hour of the morning. Turns out that it was a neighbor there to invite me for the hair-cutting ceremony of their two year old son. Huge mistake on my part! I took a language helper with me later that day to apologize and ask forgiveness. The neighbor seemed to accept my apology... but it was never the same after that.

I learned from that to treat everyone with respect and give them the benefit of the doubt... even when it appears they may be taking advantage of us. Kind of reminds me of that "turn the other cheek" principle.

Anonymous said...

Wow that must have been embarrasing, I hate being embarrased. I am a lot though because i have a big mouth and i say things that i shouldn't like a lot! I've been working on it but it's so hard, so when i make a mistake i've learned that i really do need to humble about it and apoligize and then i find that i can let my embarrasment go a little better. Well tonight is JSB and though I'm not really going i am going to the chapel where they will be for the first 45 minutes and i'm going to serve Drinks and stuff so that will be fun and i can see everybody look really pretty! Love you daddyjon, you faitful daughter.

Strider said...

Thanks for the good comments everyone.
Tim- that story really made me cringe. I don't know whether to feel better that someone has messed up as bad as me or worse! Anyway, thanks.

Goldberry- Always good to hear from you girl. Write when you can- but not when you are suppose to be doing homework! Love to you too.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dad this is your other daughter, the one that got turned into a tree or whatever. I wanted to be Goldberry! Oh well,
Yeah I love this story because it reminds me not to judge people. I am really tired! Cause of JSB didn't get back to dorm till One in the Morning! *yawns* I'm going to go watch TV and stop using my brain before it explodes :)