I think by most accounts I’m a pretty sentimental guy. I remember birthdays and anniversaries, I get choked up when I watch my kids do something new and amazing, and I know all the words to several songs off my Power Ballads of the 80s CD. But I’ll tell you where I draw the line, friend. Those uber-schmaltzy “faith promoting” emails that find their way into my email inbox time and time again.
You want I should give you an example? Here is a gem I recently came across. My thoughts can be found in parentheses:
Heaven’s Grocery Store
As I was walking down life’s highway, many years ago,
I came upon a sign that read Heaven’s Grocery Store.
[Hey, I think my mom used to shop there. Isn’t that the one next to the Food 4 Less?]
When I got a little closer the doors swung open wide
And when I came to, I was standing inside.
I saw a host of angels. They were standing everywhere.
One handed me a basket and said,
“My child shop with care.” [“There’s a spill over on aisle 8.”]
Every thing a human needed was in that grocery store.
And what you could not carry you could come back for more.
[Hey…like a REAL grocery store! I think this analogy may be on to something…]
First I got some Patience. [I must be out myself, ‘cause this is where I lost interest.]
Love was in that same row.
Further down was Understanding,
You need that everywhere you go. [To put up with people who insist on sending these emails.]
I got a box or two of Wisdom, and Faith a bag or two.
And Charity of course, I would need some of that too.
[This guy is some kind of poetic genius, rhyming “two” with “too.”]
I couldn’t miss the Holy Ghost, it was all over the place.
[Knocking items off shelves, “sampling” fruit off the stand.]
And then some Strength and Courage to help me run this race. [And finish this “poem.”]
My basket was getting full but I remembered I needed Grace.
And then I chose Salvation, for Salvation was free.
[Sure, free is good. But throw in a box of Zingers, and then you really got somethin’.]
I tried to get enough of that to do for you and me.
[Yes, of course, you can always borrow somebody else’s Salvation. Like milk. “Can I borrow a cup of Salvation?” “Oh, I picked you up a whole gallon when I was down at Heaven’s Grocery Store.” “Why, thank you! Is that the one next to Food 4 Less?”]
Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill,
For I thought I had everything to do the Master’s will.
As I went up the aisle I saw Prayer and put that in,
For I knew when I stepped outside I would run into sin.
[I left it running, with the key in the ignition.]
Peace and Joy were plentiful, the last thing on the shelf.
Song and Praise were hanging near so I just helped myself.
[Hey! What about the rest of us? Sure, pick me up some free Salvation, but then keep all the Song and Praise for yourself! Why didn’t you get any Generosity, you selfish, selfish person.]
The I said to the angel, “How much do I owe?”
He smiled and said [“I’m sorry, my shift just ended…”]
“Just take them with you everywhere you go.”
And again I asked, “Really now, how much do I owe?” [I simply INSIST on paying ALL of my bills. I absolutely hate it when people try to let me off the hook.]
“My child,” he said, “God paid your bill a long, long time ago.”
This poem has been sent to you with love and for good luck. It originated in the Netherlands and has been around the world 9 times. [So that makes it more true.] The luck has now come to you and you will receive good luck in the mail within six days of receiving this letter, providing you send it out to someone else. Do not send money as this message has no price. [No price? How about the cost of 20 seconds of my life that I’ll never get back, in addition to a tiny slice of my soul.]
Do not keep this letter but send it on to someone who needs good luck. Of course, “good luck” is just another way of saying “blessings.” [That’s why you always get “good luck” by being obedient to commandments and “blessings” when you’re at the craps table.] Send five copies within 90 hours of reading this and see what happens in six days.
So if you are ever shopping at Heaven’s Grocery Store, and we bump into each other in the Charity aisle, and they are having a two-for-one sale on Longsuffering, and you see me filling my cart…please don’t judge. I need all the help I can get.
[P.S. So I’m perpetuating this email by posting it on my blog. And with any luck (or blessing), that good luck I’ll be receiving in the mail within six days will be Power Ballads of the 80s, Volume 2.]