Saturday, May 21, 2016

Virtue

The other day I was having dinner with a woman at an Asian food place that she suggested. I had ordered the teriyaki chicken which came with some vegetables that I was trying to eat with chopsticks. I was managing fairly proficiently with the sticks until one carrot that was doused with sauce managed to shift between the two prongs and do this aerial maneuver that would impress an Olympic gold medalist, before landing on my shirt. The carrot did a bank shot off of the right side of my chest and landed at the base of my shirt making it look like I had a strange sweat stain the shape of the Mediterranean sea. I grabbed my napkin to dab up the goo as I glanced at the woman that I was dining with and noted that she was holding her attention out the window. I thought, I know she saw that. I know that this was funny, but it gave me pause because she said absolutely nothing about it, where as I think almost everyone else I know would have.

The moment reminded me of the beauty of virtue.

I was driving down the road the other day and I saw a homeless man holding up a sign that said "BEER: any change helps" I rolled down the window and fumbled in the center console where I keep my change and grabbed a short stack of quarters. I think about Proverbs 31:7 where it says "Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more." It made me think about momentary respite from suffering. It made me think of people on food stamps who occasionally buy a steak, and how hardship and suffering should not mean that one is only meant to suffer. I thought about how an act of benevolence in the midst of painful circumstances has the power to break through some negative mindsets in a way that judgments cannot.

This moment reminded me of the complexity of virtue.

This past week I have been moving. I've been lugging boxes up a set of stairs, driving across town, unloading and driving back, down the stairs and repeat. In my mind I was trying to work the calculations and the time restrictions of renting a truck within the busy part of the work schedule. I often have a never say die attitude, which can be problematic when a problem is slowly killing me. 
Wednesday I was sitting on the couch in what was soon to be my living room with what was to become one of my roommates. He stand up and casually looks down at the ground in front of me and says "You get off work at what time tomorrow?" "6pm, why what's up" "We talked about it yesterday in mens group, we're all helping you move tomorrow. We've got a truck" and then he walked away.
I sat there overcome by the surprise.

In this moment I was recipient of the virtue of others