I was half way up to the second floor of a block of flats with a food delivery. Suddenly I became aware of a small plastic carton sliding off the top of the box I was carrying.
In such circumstances there comes a brief moment of inevitability. Time seems to stand still. And then…
You would be amazed how much floor space is covered by six broken eggs. Eugh!
My normal reaction is to become very cross with myself and shout out a rich expletive. Why the **** didn’t I look to see what was in my box? It should have been obvious that the stupid eggs could fall out, especially as it’s not easy to hold the box horizontally whilst climbing stairs. I should have made my load secure before I set off. The fact that I didn’t explode was partly because my client heard the eggs smashing and came out of his door. And also thanks to Helen who was bringing a bag for another client.
The client kindly provided us with a bucket of hot water and a mop. Helen found a poop bag in her pocket and got busy picking up the shells whilst I returned to the car to find a replacement for some of the eggs. Then she went to work with the mop. It took five minutes to clean the mess up to a presentable extent, including wiping the bit of stairway on which the carton had first crashed at the start of its ignominious descent. At the end of the day the mess was (mostly) cleared up. Two clients were a few eggs short. We lost a few minutes. And that was that.
Why am I so much harsher on myself than on others? I felt much better for not having exploded. If I’d done so, it would have detracted from the value of what we gave to our client. It made me think of what being human is all about. We are gloriously creative beings, but we make mistakes – we get it wrong. I often feel the likes of Google would have us live in a world where every task is automated, mistake-proofed, leaving we humans as redundant in all activities other than twiddling with phones and computers and indulging in leisure. For example, do I really want to sit passively in a driverless car? No way!
In 2 Corinthians 4, St Paul is talking about the precious Good News that he is preaching. He shares with the Corinthian church how hard he has found it – persecuted by zealous Jews, mobbed by pagan worshippers, whipped, imprisoned, and perplexed as to why God’s allowing it. Yet in verse 7 he says, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” He’s saying that he and his fellow-workers are the clay jars – fragile human bodies and minds – that carry God’s treasure! It’s in Paul’s humanity, through his vulnerability, that Jesus is seen.
What a non-Googlesque way God has chosen to bring about His kingdom! It’s right and ‘godly’ that we work to mistake-proof our factories, that we strive to be safer drivers. But the beauty of being human lies in the fact that we aren’t perfect. We misunderstand people and misjudge situations, then have to put things right. We have to say ‘sorry’. We upset each other and have to kiss and make up. We become stressed. We fall ill and have to care for one another. Yet, God invites us to let Him fill us with His treasure. And so often, God uses our weaknesses, as well as our strengths, to reach out to others. How else can you make scrambled eggs except by breaking them?
There’s another thing. How often our misfortunes act as sources of humour! On returning home I texted the two ladies who’d sent us on our round, to tell them about our ‘adventure’. I thought I’d get some sympathy. One of them replied,
One thought on “Scrambled Eggs”
Wonderful John. Reminded of the battle where the warriors had to smash their jars to reveal the lights & thereby defeating the enemy. Your light shone before Helen & the client in the way you ruled your response. Plus you learned from the incident – i.e. check the packing next time 😅