I drive home after purchasing running shorts from Old Navy. These shorts are a reward. I have been running for five weeks, three times a week. On Friday and Saturday, I saw roots from my labor. My average mile dropped significantly from the first time. My body adjusted. A desire to run was being birthed. I commemorated all of this with a pair of grey and pink running shorts, with a pocket.
I waited for the light to change. Like a movie, I predicted what was going to happen next. Seconds later it did. Two vehicles collided. I drove up. Parked my car.
“Ma’am, what emergency services do you require: police, fire, or medical?”
“Police and medical”, my voice shaking, as I hold myself together.
Standing beside my car, I could see the driver’s blood and hair on the passenger’s window. The impact had flung him from his seat to the other side of the vehicle. I could see the windshield out of its frame. I could see the oil and coolant and antifreeze pouring from the car. I could see a female bystander applying pressure to the head of this man. I could see those napkins becoming soaked with blood as red and fresh as a bing cherry. As, I hung up the phone, I walked towards the scene.
“Ma’am, do you need some clean cloth?”
I walk back to the scene from my car with my shorts in hand, I pull the tag off.
“I know it’s weird, but these shorts are clean and sweat absorbent. They can help”
My personal reward became cloth. As it always was. As it was always supposed to be. This man, bloodied and shocked, apologizes to me.
“I’m so sorry about your shorts. I will wash them and return them to you.”
“No. No. That [my shorts] is a thing. You are a person. You win.”
The title, of this post, comes from a mantra I have repeated for almost a year: “People over things; God over all”. As, that man apologized (and later his wife), I recognized my mantra is not shared with everyone.
Those shorts were probably created in a sweatshop with an exploited labor force. Their true value is $1.50. I purchased them for $15 and used a gift card. This man was spoken out by God. Birthed into a home with a mother and a father. He has a wife. He probably has a job. He is loved. He is desired. He is wanted. His value is incalculable. My shorts are not even worthy to be compared to his life. They are rubbish.
It’s not that I am against things. I love things. I love the flare of a dress as I twirl. I love long drives to unknown destinations. I love a good happy hour. However, I hope to never love these things more than people, whether they be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family. And, if ever I do, I pray in God’s love for me, He would strip me off them until I remember it is all about Him and all about people.