As I write this, it is 5:00 a.m. and I have just had a rather vivid dream. I was driving a rented car—a big yellow one. I had just turned a corner onto a street in a nice residential area. For some reason, I pulled up alongside the curb, opened the car door and stepped out, leaving the motor running and the car in gear.
The car started moving. I put one foot back into the vehicle hoping to push on the brake but the car was picking up speed and I almost fell. I ran alongside for a short distance but then stopped and watched helplessly as the car made a wide arc in the tree-lined street and disappeared from my view, hidden by the neatly trimmed shrubbery.
When I finally caught up to the wayward automobile, it had come to rest just short of one of several columns supporting the portico of a beautiful, two-story mansion. There were tire tracks across some ivy ground cover and the well-manicured lawn. Several rose bushes, their blossoms crushed, showed evidence of the car’s malfeasance. The car itself didn’t seem to be any worse off for the misadventure.
In my dream, there didn’t appear to be anyone around. My first thought was that I should just get in, put it in reverse and get the heck out of Dodge. Then the thought came, “I am the author of ‘Mustard Seeds,’ I’m supposed to do the right thing.”
Then I thought, “What if there’s a lawsuit? How much will the damages be? There’s nobody around, why don’t I just get out of here?” Then it occurred to me that perhaps someone IS looking. In that case I would be reported and then I would be in trouble for sure.”
Then I woke up.
I lay awake considering my dilemma. What would I have done if this incident had really occurred? I think I was bothered by the fact that I had even thought about leaving the scene and running out on my responsibility. After all, it was a stupid thing I had done—getting out of a car with the motor running and the transmission engaged!
The words of an old hymn came to mind, “Do what is right, let the consequence follow…”
It sounds easy enough but in reality sometimes it’s hard to always do the right thing. Sometimes it’s hard to say, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes it’s hard to give credit where credit is due. Sometimes it’s hard to forgive some real or perceived slight or offense.
I’m reminded of the termite, an ugly little ant-like creature that does all of its work in the dark. If it has to get from the earth, where it gets its moisture, to the wood in which it works, it builds itself a little mud channel so that it can hide in the dark and so that it cannot be seen as it goes back and forth.
Termites cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage each year as people attempt to replace the wood in buildings the little critters have munched.
The exterior of a structure can look beautiful and sound, but because the strength of its timbers has been eaten away by termites, and only an outer shell is left standing, it can become very dangerous and of little value.
If I don’t do the right thing on a regular basis, I think I shall become but a hollow shell, of little value. In my own mind, the words of the song ring true: “Do what is right, let the consequence follow.”
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