Yesterday one of our less-than-favourite Starbucks customers was in the newspaper.
In the obituaries.
I feel kind of guilty about it.
"Why?" asked the Milk Guy. "Do you really think whatever spiritual forces you tap into, killed him just because you didn't like him?"
Not at all.
"Maybe he's in a better place," he suggested. "In that case, you should be happy for him."
Sure. Maybe he is. I don't feel that I am in a position to discuss the likelihood or non-likelihood of this. But that's not really what was bothering me at the moment, either.
It's that . . . sometimes people are really jerks. Or unmitigatedly annoying. Or something else that triggers primarily negative reactions in people surrounding them. This man was, to me and my colleagues, unfortunately one of those people. But the last thing I said about him while he was alive, I said in the backroom of the store and it involved a lot of tisking and eyerolling and "I know"-ing. If, after you do that, you find out you're never going to see that person again because they died, it just does kind of weird things to your head.
I don't suppose, had I known he was going to die this week, I would have found him any less annoying in the interim. I don't know that I feel he was, by his usual actions in our store, necessarily deserving of any excess of respect. But knowing that he's dead now reminds me that we're all going to. Because we're all human. It reminds me that here was a human being for whom Jesus died, and none of us are deserving of any excess of respect in ourselves--but Jesus is, and this whole time I was taking for granted some dude that He loved and suffered for.
It's possible this man wouldn't have noticed had I treated him any differently than I did--particularly because I think most of the time I was at least polite if not cordial to his face. It's possible he wouldn't have cared. But I feel like my integrity's at stake, because I know what my inner attitude toward him was, and I also know what I say I believe about humanity and Jesus and what that means for personal interactions.
And I'm really scared that, even having come to this realisation, it's not going to make much of a difference.