I once convinced myself I was entitled to a long list of things. I reckon it started with my birth in America. While I feel my birth in America was a gift, I think the back hand of my nationality is my sense of entitlement. Here is my list, I bet it looks like yours: I am entitled to a job,a good-girlfriend-turned-amazing-wife, respect, a better job after my undergrad, an even better job after my masters, clean water, cheap gas, a gallon of milk under 2 dollars, and a cappuccino at the appropriate temperature. I give the barista my money, they give me a darn good cappuccino.
Today, our lecturer invited anyone out to lunch who wanted to continue dialoguing. Nearly half the class crammed into, what we would call, a hole in the wall lunch joint. An order of pork fried rice over rich discussion for me. All 17 of us positioned ourselves around a table in preparation for the fountain of knowledge our lecturer had. Maybe by wading into a conversation with him, we could some how absorb, like some famous sea sponge, the knowledge this guy had. As time passed I looked around the table as eyes and ears were fixated on him. That is when I asked myself, “I wonder how he feels right now?” Diverse age and culture in admiration of this man’s knowledge. What would that feel like?
I know what it feels like to know a thing or two, maybe three, about coffee. Stumptown-trained and almost a year under my belt at the number one coffeehouse in Salem, Oregon. You should listen to me, I mean, I am entitled to it right? My resume is pretty stellar, and I know the language. I am a pro. I know how it feels to have a handful of people listen to me as their authority on coffee. I usually feel pretty stellar when I throw down coffee knowledge to listening ears. The feeling is usually pride, and that Pride likes to kick it’ with Entitlement. In fact, those two are best buds.
Hours after 17 of us crowded around the lunch table , I found myself laying outside, across the cushions of three mopeds, in an attempt to suck up a few of the sun’s joy-rays. I milled over the question I asked myself hours earlier, and to my luck, one of the mopeds I was laying across happened to be the lectures’. Perfect. I took my feet off his moped, and he got on. “Can I ask you something?” I asked.
Laying his helmet back over his handle bar, he hunkered himself down ready to talk, “Sure!”
“How do you handle not being prideful, when you have 17 people who are seeking your advice on their free time?”
Silent for a second, ” You know, there are two ways. One is by practice. When it happens I just remind myself that I am really not that important. I mean, the feeling of pride is there, but you have to remember you are not a big deal. The second is more simple. If you don’t practice refusing pride, God will do something to show you how much of a mess you actually are. ”
I’ll break down the comprehensive list of things pride tells me I am entitled to. Lets start with salvation. I don’t deserve it. Lets end there. I remember the first time I heard the saying, “The only thing you deserve is hell,” Said of course by the same reverent christian who damned me for the tattoo on my foot. I hate that saying, and trust me, I don’t think those words have ever left my lips. But, as much as it churns my belly, especially coming from this guy, I have to agree with him. No, I do not deserve a wife, a job, awesome kids, clean water, cheap milk, and a perfect temperature cappuccino. I only deserve one thing. Yet I am given a gift that erases that very thing. I am given the gift of salvation.