Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Carol and the Calendar: A Parable of Greed and Guilt

Once upon a time there was a very greedy girl named Carol who lived in Islamabad.

When Carol went to America last year she bought two very nice calendars which featured the Christian artwork of Del Pearson. One of the calendars she gave as a gift and the other she kept for herself. Since Carol lived in a Muslim household which forbade the pictorial Representation of "Prophets" (Not that Carol considered her Lord and Savior as a mere prophet, but the Muslim majority did) she hung the calendar on the back of the kitchen door which was always opened. No one ever looked at the calendar but Carol, and no one complained about it since it was in an obscure, out of the way place.

Carol would consult the calendar to find out when Easter was. It being one of those sneaky "moveable feasts" that fluctuates wildly throughout the calendar year, poor Carol never knew when it was coming. Whenever she was feeling low, downtrodden or just plain depressed she would close the kitchen door have a nice look at the whole year's worth of pictures of her Lord and Savior and then feel all happy and go about the house singing, "My God is an awesome God." (where are those music notes I'm always wishing I had?!)

Last Sunday Ms Carol was asked to give a short sermon at church, or as Mormons call them, a talk. Carol chose as her subject, "Building and Protecting our Testimonies of Our Lord and Savior." Carol knew only about 30% of her congregation (or as Mormons call small congregations: Branch) could speak enough English or understand her particular brand of American accented English. She took along the calendar of Our Lord and Savior as a visual aid to engage the English deprived.

The "talk" was a success in spite of the fact that in her "Branch" most speakers overextend their time allotment, and being the third speaker she got the tail end of the time. She was forced to reduce her 15 minute talk to 7 1/2 minutes. After the meeting, several people asked to see the calendar. Carol obliged gladly. Then a newish member whom Carol doesn't even know by name, said in broken, heavily accented English, "Is that calendar? You give me?" Okay she answered blithely, but as soon as the calendar passed hands, Carol knew in her heart's heart that the man had asked for the calendar as a gift and the shy, but greedy Carol was too ashamed to ask for it back.

She went home heavy hearted, trying to convince herself that she had done the right thing, that such a calendar would hang in the home of the poor Christian man as a prized possession forever. Carol would feel all noble inside for a few minutes and then she would go stare at the back of the kitchen door and sigh that no longer could she go there to seek refuge in the lovely but forbidden images of her Lord and Savior. "I needed that calendar too," she sulked.

Carol felt guilty for being so attached to the calendar and mourning its passing. She wondered why she was so greedy of her earthly possessions. She blogged about the calendar in the vain hopes that somehow, somewhere a Mormon would read her blog, take pity on her and buy her another Del Parson's calendar. PATHETIC-ain't it?

The End