One of my students brought her goldfish to school on Thursday, August 29th and gave it to another
On Friday I transferred the little guy to a large juice container since his water was already pretty dirty. I watched him swim around and dart about, but as I watched him throughout the day his behavior seemed to be a bit odd. That evening I browsed through Google to better understand my new pet and discovered that putting a fish straight into tap water is not a good idea. I resolved to run errands Saturday morning so that I could get all the necessary supplies and give him a better home. It turned out that Saturday morning was too late. I woke up to a floating fish. Needless to say this did not make me happy. In fact, it put me in terrible mood.
Attempting to go to Mass now before running errands, I reverted back to trusty Google so I could find a late morning Mass in the area. I found a site that said there was a 12:15p.m. Mass nearby so I got ready and was in the car by 11:40 a.m. I got out my phone to pull up the site again so I could get directions. I found the same link, but for some reason it wasn't opening. I sat in the car attempting to find another Mass, but to no avail. "Fine," I resolved, "I'll just run errands now and go to Mass in the evening." By this time my own personal rain cloud had already formed.
I was in need of some pots for my plants as well as some potting soil, so I looked up "plant nurseries" in the area. I found one about 6 miles away, so I finally put the car in drive and got going. As I pulled up to my destination I found that I had arrived at the botanical gardens. I might have stayed to browse a bit if they had been open, but they were closed. Of course. The next Google search led me to a wealthy neighborhood where the plant nursery I had hoped to find (again) was closed (again). Frustrated and fully enjoying the presence of my rain cloud by now, I tried searching one more time. This time when I arrived at my destination I could let out a sigh of relief. I had finally found a real, live plant nursery. And it was open! I skipped happily around until I began to find that all the fancy pots I admired were made in China. I finally found a little plastic green pot that said it was made in Canada, but I couldn't find any more. Annoyed that no one had asked me if I needed help, I trudged up to the front for assistance. The guy there showed me where I could find some more unexciting plastic green pots and offered to take a bag of potting soil up to the front for me. As I picked out my pots, my eyes were drawn to some simple terracotta pots. Read the label... Made in the USA! I excitedly exchanged the plastic for the terracotta and went up to the front to make my purchase. I was feeling a little bit better, but decided maybe a trip to PetSmart would help.
It didn't. All I got to do was look at every pet I couldn't have and think of the many I had left behind. After about an hour of sulking in PetSmart I went over to Staples for some very necessary classroom supplies. I found some whiteout - made in China. Looked for a stapler - made in the Philippines. Checked out the binder dividers - made in Mexico. As much as I really could have used all of those things and as much as I could have come up with good excuses to override myself, I wouldn't do it. I couldn't, especially because I had just told my students about this shopping practice of mine. In knowing that buying these products was going to perpetuate the poverty of others, there was no way I could allow myself to ignore my conscience. No whiteout, no stapler, no binder dividers. I walked away annoyed with Staples and the rest of the world.
Not wanting to further upset myself, I made my way to a thrift store. While there I found a nice water bottle for a Sister who had lost hers as well as a small flower pot and a fancy watering vase. Everything totaled $3 and I left feeling satisfied with my shopping items despite the fact that I hadn't actually found what I needed.
I returned home and relaxed with the Sisters a bit before going back out to attend a 7 p.m. Mass down the road. I was excited not only about the time of the Mass, but also about the fact that it was in Arabic! I understood nothing of what was spoken during the Mass, but it was absolutely divine to listen to and be a part of.
As Mass ended I just stood in my pew watching everyone reverently file out of the church. Eventually, people started coming over to me, excited to see me as if we had been friends forever and hadn't seen each other in a long time. I received warm greetings, handshakes and kisses on the cheek
I had sulked all day because of my dead fish and because I couldn't find what I needed at the store, but I felt like this $100 was God's way of saying, "Look, your efforts alone are enough. Don't be so hard on yourself."
An excerpt from the Book of Lamentations 3:20-24
"Remembering [my afflictions] over and over
my soul is downcast.
But this I will call to mind;
therefore I will hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is thy faithfulness.
'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'"