James 1:2 (KJV)- My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations…
When Liz and I arrived from our vacation in Florida, we found Buffalo N.Y. fully immersed in a wintery mix of freezing air, slippery sidewalks and snow.
Before vacation, we had assumed that the polar express had officially departed from upstate N.Y. since we were leaving behind blue sunny skies and mellifluous songs of robins and mocking birds.
With our vacation clothes, we only packed 2 Shawls in case the Florida morning beach air became a bit crisp. Little did we know that the mockingbird was priming us for April Fools Day!
As we were waiting for the long-term parking shuttle to arrive, the other folks at the terminal began to complain about the cold air and the extra time we had to wait. Rather than joining the Choir of Complainers, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to hero-up and share my shawl with my freezing, sandal-n-short wearing wife.
Then something happened…rather than joining the coat-wearing, grumpy-grumblers around us, we began to laugh about our deplorable, post-vacation condition, and thank God that we had each other to share whatever body heat the cold had not consumed. Luckily, I was wearing a porous, straw fedora…
When the shuttle arrived, the moaning crybabies began to complain in unison to the post middle-aged driver, who was obviously a semi-retired, part-timer. In spite of his explanations that they were short-staffed on Sundays, the nitpicking pecker-pack of obtuse complainers continued their rant, as if the poor driver had any fault in his delay or the cold weather.
Instead of remaining silent, Liz and I raised our voices in thanksgiving to the driver for his service and professionalism.
“Thank you Sir for your extraordinary service and professionalism!”
The hellish choir paused their protests with a gasp, as if our cordial expression was some sort of Bush-era “Shock-n-Awe.” After a deep inhalation of warm bus air, they attempted to re-group their choir with a reinvigorated congenial deprecation towards the driver.
After another driver-directed expression of appreciation, I was inspired to sing with a silly Latin accent an Elvis Presley song IN SPANISH. Liz’s melodious laughter completed the ambiance, inspiring the driver to crack a smile and chuckle!
Needless to say, the failed anger-management class was perplexed with our happiness. When the dissonant demons recognized that they had been defeated, one of the complaining simpaticos turned towards me and said: “Well, it seems that Elvis is still alive.”
…with a lighting-fast quid pro quo, I slapped my fattened belly and said with a Mafioso, Brooklyn accent: “Yeah buddy, and he’s right here!” Then with a terror-inspiring face I said: “Whaa? You never heard of Elvis’ Mexican album in Spanish? You gotta watch Youtube more often!”
The demonic choir was silenced in confusion while I continued to sing Elvis Presley songs… in Spanish.
When we arrived at our parking space, the redeemed driver took our suitcase, and after placing it before our car, he looked into our eyes and said: “Thank you very much!” His words were accompanied by a deep appreciation and a sigh that surpassed the words that flowed out of his mouth.
Temptations come in all shapes and forms. We could’ve followed the grumpsters’ lead and indulged in burning the poor driver at the stake. Instead, we consciously chose to be in a happy mood and extinguish the misdirected hot air that was carelessly proceeding from the bellyaching choir.
Rather than remaining indifferent towards the verbal injustice before us, our fun-filled courage deflected and diffused the unnecessary attacks against the driver, while teaching the anger-addicts a humiliating lesson.
The demons were defeated, God was glorified, and Elvis…inducted into the Spanish Hall of Fame.
James 1:12 (NKJV) Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Temptations come in diverse and subtle ways… Sometimes the greatest temptation is to remain silent in the presence of injustice and to trade righteousness for the temporary approval of evil men.–jcr