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The Grocery Store And Our $200 Sunglasses

We spend our whole lives trying to prove that we have it all together. Running, screaming and searching, we desperately hope that someone will say that who we are is okay. So we wear $200 sunglasses, drive $40,000 cars, and know all the right names for the fancy $100 items on the menu. And in the process we strip ourselves of our humanity. We lose what it means to truly be human— to journey through life together and learn as we go. We would rather have it happy and nicely folded without any bumps or embarrassments.

It’s because we’re scared. Scared that someone will find out that masked beneath our $200 sunglasses we’re lost children in the grocery store crying out for mommy or daddy.

I remember when I was in the grocery store and I thought my dad had left without me. I stood there in the toy section crying, in panic, believing I was alone in this big world. I think most of us are still standing in that toy section crying, wondering if we’re really all alone in this world. It’s a big place out there. We’re still scared, but of different things now. We wonder, “Does what I do mean anything? Am I really cutting it as a son, friend, parent, husband or wife?”

Navigation through the grocery store is tough — so we hide behind our sunglasses. There are some who really like the way those $200 sunglasses look. Props to you. The rest of us are just trying to blend in with the crowd. We may not know jack about life, and we may be having a hard time living it, but man we look good.

When I was standing in the toy section crying, I didn’t care that people saw me; I just wanted to know where my dad was. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone.

Something changes in humans between the ages of six and 18. At six, we don’t care who sees what’s going on inside of us. When we’re 18, nobody can know anything. Sometimes this can be a good thing. Who really wants to know if you just wet your pants? But for the most part when we grow up we lose our sense of honest desperation. The most desperate you and I get is when our Internet connection is down and we can’t check our e-mail. Now I’m as impatient as the next guy, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t let the little things in life bother us. But it worries me that the only thing my colleague at work knows about me is that I was angry today because my Internet connection was down.

For those of us who are followers of Jesus we can sometimes be the worst. We’ll tell you that we’re frustrated and confused about something, but then we’ll wrap it up neatly in a box and say that it’ll be okay because God will take care of it. The truth is, yes God is sovereign and, “He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” But the truth also is that some of us have been stuffing our emotions for so long, we don’t even know we’re afraid anymore. Our $200 sunglasses can be, “Oh, God will take care of it.”

You know when somebody truly likes the way their sunglasses look there’s no effort in wearing them. They come off as easily as they go on because the questions inside have already been answered. The sunglasses are just for pure enjoyment. So lets take our cue from children and re-learn how to be truly human. Let’s be honestly desperate. And just maybe, as we live open lives of honest desperation, we will be able to notice God standing with us in the toy isle of the grocery store reminding us that we are not alone.

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[Andrew Hines is a student and freelance writer who lives in Olympia, Wash. He does not own a pair of $200 sunglasses, but he does own a pair of $150 shoes and he likes them very much.]

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