Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Truth in a Razor

Today I scraped out my razor, freeing the blades of the shaving stubble that had clogged them from their previous use.

This had to be the, what, fourth or fifth time I had done this?

The water ran in my sink, warming up, creating a nice relaxing sound and occasionally a wisp of steam would waft up and create a tiny patch of moist warmth on my skin.

I love shaving, just like I love showers.
There is something exhilarating about the warm water, it brings with it freshness, a newness of life. It's transforming really.

Isn't it funny how something so simple can have such a profound impact on your psyche?

But something different happened today...

As I lathered up and began to run the blades over my skin, I began thinking about the razor itself.

Why had I gone to such lengths to clean it out the past four times I had shaved? It's a disposable, after all.

Well, the answer is really quite simple, right now the budget is a bit tight, and the next shopping trip, while on the horizon, is still in the distance. I have to make what I have right now last.

Isn't it funny how when you have little, or are tight on money some weeks, you have the uncanny ability to astound yourself?

Ordinarily, when I use a disposable razor, I get about two uses out of it, then I toss it. They generally come in packs of six or so, so even with the shortened lifespan, one pack generally carries me to the next shopping excursion I endeavor on.

This razor had twice outlived its predecessors, and shows no signs of relinquishing its life just yet.

It made me think just how wasteful we can be.
We live in a disposable society; most everything we can purchase is tailor made for a single use.

It's crazy to think that something that has a sole purpose of being thrown away after one or two uses could, in fact, be lasting us much longer.

It got me thinking about just how much I consume on a daily basis.

Yesterday I was watching The Blindside (which is a great movie by the way), and there is a line that never fails to get me...

Leigh Anne Tuohy, who has taken the orphan Michael Oher under her wing, is showing him their guest room that she prepared for Michael. The Tuohy's are well off, they own several successful franchise food stores, they have a large house, and it is implied that they eat free at any of the stores they own whenever they'd like.

Michael is an orphan. He doesn't know his father, his mother is heavily involved in drugs and men, so much of his life has been spent fending for himself in and out of foster homes, and crashing on a good samaritan's couch.

It is in this moment of the movie that Big Mike looks around the room and says:

"It's nice, I never had one before."

To which Leigh Anne replies,
"What, a room to yourself?

Mike then says simply,
"A bed."

Those two words hit me like a ton of bricks every time I see this movie. Sandra Bullock does a phenomenal job throughout the entire movie, but at this moment she simply shines.

The viewer can actually see her paradigm being shattered, and her brokenness in that moment as she is confronted with the reality this boy has grown up with. A reality that is diametrically opposed to her life and experiences. Up till this moment, she and her husband have been helping this young orphan, and it's so easy to begin patting oneself on the back in that situation.

We've all been there.
Done our good deed.
Put in our time and walked away...

But the simple truth of Mike's two words cut, like a knife, to the heart of the reality.

That reality is, that we can never do just "enough" to relieve the suffering of this world.

As I finished shaving under my chin I thought to myself, if I can make one single disposable razor last this long, why do I spend my money on a new pack of six every two weeks?

You know those lights I left on last night by accident?

What if the money that I spent for that, in this month's electrical bill, could've been used to heat someone's home?

What if the money I spent on a Taco Bell lunch could've been used to buy bread and water for someone who doesn't know where their next meal will come from?

What if the clean water that I left running while I ran to check a laundry load could've been used by another to shave?

What if I could begin living less and less in a disposable wasteful world?

Would I still feel Michael's words like a punch in the stomach?
Would it still be hard to breathe as I'm faced with some of the cruel realities of life?
Would it still cause tears to circle my eyes?

And why do those tears come, at that particular moment?
Why do they circle and sting my eyes in such a way?

Perhaps they are a halo of remorse.
The weight of the truth that I need forgiveness for living with plenty, while others have nothing to call their own.

Perhaps it is the haunting truth that I casually throw away a razor as if it is of no consequence, while another couldn't afford shaving cream for an entire month. An entire month! A month without being able to feel that simple pleasure of renewal that I feel when I shave...

A wise man once said; "Whatever you did for the least of these (or rather, those without), you did for me."

May I be forgiven of the disposable lifestyle I live.
May I learn from this truth that was discovered, as most are, in the unlikeliest of places...

A razor.

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