Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guided by Foreign Tongues

I set out to find a special cloth I needed, armed only with my cell phone. First I did a google search on my phone for the required item, then searched stores in the area that would sell it. When the address of the store popped up in the window, I clicked on it, and then hit the navigate key. The phone,all by itself, showed a map of the area, found my current location, and began talking me through the route I needed to travel. It told me how many miles away I was and how long it would take me to get there.
"I love this phone," I said out loud.
Fifteen minutes later, my phone was directing me through a rather run down, dangerous looking neighborhood. Disguised speed bumps every few feet would suddenly catapult me and my phone ten feet off our seats and then crash back down with a vertebrae crunching bang.
"Where are you taking me?!" I screamed at my phone.
Then, the phone proclaimed we had found our destination, and turned me onto a road in a county park.
"This is not the fabric store!" I screeched at my phone, "This is a park!"
I noticed people sitting in the autumn sunshine with picnic baskets. They were lying back on the succulent grass, leaning on one shoulder and smiling at each other.
"Arrived at destination," said my phone.
"Wrong!" I yelled, and the picnickers glanced my way.
Furious over the wasted time, I grumbled, "I hate my phone", and looked for the address again. I repeated the process and slammed the phone back on my dashboard.
"Get it right this time or we are making a stop at Verizon and trading you in," I threatened.
The phone sighed.
"Are you sure about this?" it asked me, "It is a beautiful day of a waning year. There is peace and beauty here and it is free."
I shook the phone and looked over my list of applications. Was there one labeled "Counselor and advisor", maybe "Life planning"? Nope.
This time the phone took me to the fabric store, but I could tell it was not happy about it.

By now I had been out for three hours on errands. I had missed lunch. I pulled into a fast food drive-through, feeling weary.
"Hello!" said Carl at the window, "Would you like any sauce for your fries?"
"No thanks," I said.
"I know," he nodded, "Who needs sauce? You just love the taste of fries!"
"Yes, even though they are really bad for me. I do love them."
"Me too....well actually I don't. Unless I dip them in Singapore sauce."
"What's that?" I asked.
"Oh this stuff," he said, pulling out a packet. I don't think I am remembering what it was called correctly, but in essence, it was sweet and sour sauce.
"But it's not good for you either," he went on, "Listen to the list of ingredients...corn starch is first."
"So it's sugar."
"Yep, almost all sugar! And second ingredient is soy." He leaned closer to me, on the window edge and said in a conspiratorial voice, "You know, soy is not good for you either."
"I have heard that," I said, "How do you know that?" (It seemed odd to me that a teenage boy who worked at a fast food drive through would know about nutrition...or care.)
"I have a friend who's mom is a health freak. She says soy the way they make it in China is good, but not the way we do it here in America."
"Is fresh soy ok?" I asked.
"No, that's the worst. In China they put it in big vats and process it for two years. Then all the bad stuff is gone, but we don't do that."
"So how about if I get soy from a Chinese restaurant?"
"You can't get the Chinese soy here. You have to go to China."
By now, the other employees were tapping him on the shoulder and shoving my bag of food at him. He opened the bag and dropped the Singapore sauce in.
"Wait!" he cried, "What did I just do! You don't want that! It's bad for you!" He opened my bag and pulled the Singapore sauce back out.
I thanked him for chatting with me, and traveled on.

First my phone decides that my destination for the day should not have been errands but a beautiful park, and next I am lectured by a fast food worker on proper nutrition. It reminded me of Isaiah berating his people, who were turning to false Gods and foreign nations for wisdom. Isaiah begged them not to listen to the lies of those who did not know God, not to be lured by the pagan nations. And yet, God knew they would not listen, and so tells them, "Very message will come to you through those foreign lips."
He is always speaking, even when we don't open the Bible, He finds a way, desperate for our attention.
This is a strange day, I mused.

Proverbs 23:33

33 Your eyes will see strange sights,
   and your mind will imagine confusing things.

Isaiah 28: 11-12, 23-29

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
   God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
   “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”23 Listen and hear my voice;
   pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
   Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
   does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,
   barley in its plot,
   and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
   and teaches him the right way.
 27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
   nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
   and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain must be ground to make bread;
   so one does not go on threshing it forever.
The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it,
   but one does not use horses to grind grain.
29 All this also comes from the LORD Almighty,
   whose plan is wonderful,
   whose wisdom is magnificent.


  1. Hey, that wasn't Carl! That was Kyle! And his friend is Mark!
    And that health nut is ME! :-)

  2. Carolyn, I love that you're a "health freak" and I thank you for sharing this blog site!

  3. that is so funny! What a small world! I just knew it was you he was talking about!!! I am horrid with names so sorry for mixing up Carl for Kyle.
    Anyway about it, he is a cool kid, and Carolyn is a great friend and a very healthy one....