I was paying attention and so everything was fine but it was one of those moments that I was glad my mind was on the road and not off somewhere else. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and I was driving my car at a perfectly legal speed through the streets of Hornsby when I needed to apply my brakes and quickly!
The reason for this needed change of velocity was the fact that a woman had stepped off the kerb and into the lane in which I was travelling. The reason she stepped off the kerb was that one of her shopping bags was blowing across the road. I said shopping bag but I should add that it was an empty shopping bag.
Two thoughts struck me immediately:
Firstly, why was she carrying an empty brown paper shopping bag and; secondly, why would she chase it across the road endangering her own life all for the sake of a 20 cent bag?
Thankfully, as I said, things did not get out of hand and I was able to stop easily but as the lady stepped back up to the kerb with her safely retrieved bag it did make me think.
I wonder how many times people have risked their lives to retrieve relatively unimportant things. I wonder how many times people have chased something of little importance and in the process lost something else of significant value?
I think about some of the things I have been ‘obsessed’ with over the years. I remember making various collections as a child, how nothing else seemed to matter apart from getting hold of the last item from my collection.
I think about some of the gadgets I have desired and felt like I needed to possess – I have a drawer at home filled with them!
Then there are people who chase instant gratification and end up losing their relationships or others who don’t appreciate the really important issues of life and just content themselves with the trivial.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Mk 8:36
I hope in your life that you are not chasing an empty paper bag, I hope that you realise just how important it is to allow room in your life for your soul to flourish. Don’t be content with things that will never satisfy – make sure that you hold onto those things that really matter!