This morning’s email check announced a repeat visit from three spam-ridden sources.

“Lose stubborn belly fat!” says One. “Take a stroke screening test!” says Two. “End toenail fungus!” says Three.

I hear from these hooligans a lot. No amount of blocking, spam reporting or angry deletes keep them at bay. I never click their insidious links, yet they don’t take the hint and vamoose.

Perhaps my spam filter is sending me a message. Lose weight, chubby-pants. Eat salad. Get a pedicure.

The Terrible Three always show up together and all at once, the way belly fat, stroke and fungus concerns do, I suppose.

My brain imagines a Spam Group Therapy session. Fungus nurses a stale cup of coffee and wails about feeling ugly. Belly Fat eats all the donuts. Stroke sneaks a smoke in the restroom.

“You need a fresh start,” says Inbox Moderator. “Take a vacation. Some might suggest a leaky-boat cruise, or a long hike off a short cliff. Ponder your paths. Stay out of people’s email boxes and you’ll be fine.”

I like to think there is a special place in a red-hot hole for scammers and spammers. They serve motor oil cocktails and worm cookies to hot-hole drug dealers, human traffickers, mass shooters and fellow spreaders of human misery. It would be a grand party. The chairs wobble. Everything stinks of rotten eggs.

Sometimes retribution is hard — leaving the fate of evildoers up to a power vastly larger than me.

The daily news reveals the dastardly fallout of human shortcomings — murder, abuse, scandal, milking the system, shirking responsibility, scamming the tender, being an itchy fungus on the toe of humanity.

Social media, talk radio and late-night programming often scream a particular viewpoint — the harsher, the better — arming everyone with just enough information to bolster a viewpoint and beat down the other side.

It’s enough to cause a stroke.

Everybody’s angry or hurting, it seems. Everyone longs for respite from the nastiness.

We need a dose of grace, which comes from God. We need peace, kindness, laughter and love. We need lighter spirits and slower tongues. We need dinged up campers, balmy breezes and campfire hot dogs. We need happy kids, fuzzy blankets and bear hugs. We need snoring dogs and warm cinnamon rolls.

Belly fat be darned.

I wish I knew when it started — this wave of fuming madness. Blame it on politics. Accuse apathy and flat-headed thinking. Charge the Internet, smart phones and the break-neck speed of sharing information both real and reckless. Indict anything but ourselves. Pointing fingers is easy. It’s the mirror that’ll trip you up.

I’ve been thinking about that mirror during this season of Lent. What does the face looking back at me have to say?

Am I generous? Not always. Am I fair? Sure, when people are looking. Am I merciful? Stand between me and a plate of donuts and find out.

Recently I gave the one-fingered salute to a guy on a bike. I was at the tail end of a very long run, and in death-shuffle mode. Bike Guy rode by, giving me a lopsided grin and the international “hurry up” hand swirl sign. My finger popped up like a tart out of a toaster.

Regardless of how good the gesture felt, I was mortified that I’d reacted so quickly and in that particular way.

Yes indeed, I am in dire need of grace.

So here’s my step toward a fresh start: I apologize, Bike Guy. Our paths crossed on an unfortunate day. May your tires run swift and smooth, and your journey coast downhill.

We’ll all face retribution someday, some way. Everything we do is a ripple on a gigantic pond encircled by legions of people trying to make their way in a fallen world. Let’s make our influence as positive as possible.

In the meantime, keep deleting that spam.



Recommended for you