An event took place recently that brought me to a harsh realization: I am a freak. Our weekly pastoral staff meeting generally starts with a pilgrimage to our favorite table and chairs at the Plover Starbucks, some of our absolute best work gets done there.
It was during one of these Starbucks meetings that the full extent of my freakishness was unveiled. I ordered my customary tall nonfat no whip peppermint mocha and then made a decision that changed the course of the entire meeting. I ordered oatmeal as well. It was prepared for me by the jovial barrista with a little milk and brown sugar. Perfect. But when she handed it to me, I got my first inclination that this was not going to be okay. It was in a thick cardboard container. It kind of makes me cringe just thinking about it.
I have a problem and my problem is wet cardboard or wood products. Wet cardboard boxes, popsicle sticks, wooden docks in lakes. When I was handed the cardboard cup with the delicious but wet oatmeal in it there was moment of panic. I quickly told myself to suck it up and get over it. I sat down in my regular chair and tried not to scrape the spoon along the cardboard as I ate my oatmeal. It did not work. I blanched as the spoon made contact with that stupid wet cardboard and Pastor Dan launched into the topics we needed to cover that morning. I tried as hard as I could to keep eating, but I couldn't. My teeth started tingling and I just put the oatmeal down to try and recover. But try as I might, the mere thought of the hideous wet cardboard sitting on the table in front of me controled my thoughts and physical reactions. No matter how I strained, I couldn't hear a word Pastor Dan was saying.
Finally I knew I had to do something about it. I went back to the counter and told the kind barrista that I had a problem. I had a problem with wet cardboard and, if possible, would like to have a bowl or glass cup to put the oatmeal in. As she looked at me with a puzzled expression, I admitted, "Yes, I know. I am a freak."
And here's the spiritual application. God loves you just the way you are. No matter what freakish fear you might have. God created you and loves you, even if you become petrified at the sight of the Starbucks cardboard oatmeal cup. Amen.