I waited to the last moment to get my wife her Mother’s Day card. I was very grateful to have found something, anything. It wasn’t the great card I wanted. I had to do damage control.
A few days later, I am in Walmart picking up some milk. To get to the dairy section, you have to go past cookies and snack items. As I rounded the corner, there was an orange glow coming from the adjacent aisle. I tried to resist its lure, but I was too weak. I wasn’t strong enough to resist its temptation (how is that for being melodramatic). Not only did I find the chip aisle, I found the aisle where they stock Cheetos.
I knew I needed to make points because the Mother’s Day card wasn’t over the top. I debated whether to buy the bag that would feed 50 people or the normal size bag. This decision could determine the fate of my marriage. I chose the normal size bag. It is Friday before Mother’s Day. I grabbed the bag and put it in my cart. A woman was standing a few feet away. I turned to her and said, “I’m getting my wife a bag of Cheetos for Mother’s Day.” She didn’t understand my dilemma with the Mother’s Day card. She responded, “I hope you are doing more for her that that.” She turned away as if she had given me a tongue lashing. I wheeled my cart away, smiling because…
There is always a because. It’s a simple answer. The Cheetos wasn’t the only gift I got my wife. She was with me when I got her a watch. Her old one had broken and wasn’t repairable. The Cheetos were stored in my trunk. I wanted to surprise my wife on Sunday.
My wife works in a preschool. When she came home from work on Friday, she had teacher appreciation gifts from her students. There were gift cards that she was grateful for. What I didn’t know was that my wife had developed a “Cheetos reputation” at work. Three students had gifted her with bags of Cheetos. My bag would be the fourth bag she would receive that weekend. She started right away on enjoying bag number one.
When it comes to potato chips or pretzels, my wife can take it or leave it. When we go grocery shopping, she ends up on the Cheetos aisle and puts a bag in the cart. I learned long ago not to argue with her. She doesn’t spend money on herself.
My wife has more than a “Cheetos reputation.” She is a person who has a strong work ethic. I have watched her single-handedly organize a gym of donated shoes. She puts the needs of others in front of her own needs. Were it not for her, my mother would be in a nursing home. When my sisters proposed moving mom there, my wife threw herself in front of the door and said, “Not on my watch.”
Our reputation is almost like a perfume or cologne we wear. It lingers long after we are no longer present.
As a Christ follower, I am charged with having the following reputation (or can I say cologne effect). It includes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Long after I leave your presence, the “cologne” of my reputation should linger in the air.
Let me challenge you to consider what is your perfume or cologne. What lingers long after you step away from that conversation with someone else?
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
Rev. Tony Marciano is the executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission.