Standing in the gap, part 4 Let’s Make A Deal

When I would stay home from school on a sick or school closing day, I loved to watch the game show “Let’s Make a Deal”. Do any of you Monty Hall 2remember that show from the 1970’s? (I think there’s a newer version, but nothing is as good as the original.) I enjoyed watching the contestants jump for joy in their homemade costumes eager to make the deal of the day. Monty Hall, the host was so smooth in getting the animated contestants dressed as animals, clowns, boxes of cereal, flower pots and the like, engaged in the game. His goal was to get the players to make a prize choice based on several options that could render a huge reward or one that I’d call a “gag gift”. Monty prompts the player to contemplate their options all the while offering a chance to change their minds—in hopes they’ve not chosen the lesser of the prizes.

Just to make sure my memories were intact, I found a 1973 episode on You Tube. What a hoot! In this episode, one of the contestants made an awesome choice. Her prize was $2,500 (not bad for 1973). Had she picked the alternative, she would have won a camel. Yes, a camel! How does someone win a camel? Is she supposed to fly home with it on the plane or just get a voucher redeemable for (1) camel? Really?

Monty Hall 1The final round is played with two of the top winners, who must decide if they want to keep what they’ve previously won or chance it by potentially obtaining a better payoff behind doors #1, #2 or #3. Then there’s the caveat that the door they chose could cause them to doubt their decision-making skills altogether. (I think I remember someone winning a donkey once. Again, why? I think it’s because they didn’t pick door #2—always my go to door.)

Decisions, decisions. We are faced with those every day aren’t we in our own version of “Let’s Make a Deal”? Our decisions include things like what to wear, where to go for lunch, whether to get out of bed or not, and sometimes based on situations to be positive or negative. Our game contestants were upbeat and happy because they knew there was a prize potentially waiting for them at the end. In life we are never quite sure what prize awaits us when we choose to be positive in a negative world.

Recently I stopped at a fast food joint for a late lunch. The place was surprisingly packed for the late hour. I soon realized that they were busy because they lacked the cohesion to work as a team to get the food out quickly (the fast food model was definitely not in play) and get customers on their way. And then I saw her poised like a warrior standing on the frontline—ringing up requests, bagging orders, running back and forth, apologizing a lot, smiling, taking insults from the kitchen staff and apologizing some more. Sweet faced Emily, the lone cashier taking hit after verbal hit from inpatient and disgruntled customers and staff.

When my turn came, I studied her young round face which reminded me of my niece—big brown eyes and hints of freckles across the bridge of her nose. I thought “Who could be mean to this sweet thing?” I placed my order and watched and waited as she continued to apologize to drive through customers who came inside to complain. When my order was ready, I sat in silence as I continued to watch the dynamics of hostility all around me. People making the choice to be miserable over long waits, added onions, no ketchup, cold fries, no fries, flat Coke…it ran the gamut. Miss Emily took the hits, one after another like any good soldier on the front line. Her choice this day was to continue to be pleasant in the midst of immense negativity.

Now as I ate my cold burger, I knew that she was my stranger. Emily walked past several times as she brought delayed orders to waiting drivers. On one occasion when she came back in she walked past me and I called her over. With her usual smile, she asked “How can I help you?” I’m sure she was anticipating an earful of displeasure and her face showed confusion when I replied I was there to help her. I told her about my commitment to pray for a stranger a day and asked if there was something specific she’d like me to pray for. Her response? “Let me get back to you.” Not quite the response I was looking for and I think confusion transferred to my face. Later when I went up to get a refill of tea, she said “Lauren Jean. Pray for her.” “Ok, Lauren Jean. Got it”, I said. “Yes, she my sister and she’s not well” she continued. Wow. I want that kind of spirit. You know that pure love for another person and the ability to choose to keep your head up, to smile, to remain calm despite the chaos, the hurt, the discouragement that wants to consume you. It’s these instances where I praise God because I believe it’s His grace in play. I told Emily that I’d be praying for her sister and that I would be praying for her too for her to have a deserved peace in her life. I believe a little relief came over her and she thanked me.

I often think about the world, the negativity, the hostility, the overall need for Jesus and I get sad. (Luke 19:41) I think about Emily and the delight photothers that I pray for and I believe that God is meeting their needs, because He made the ultimate choice to reconcile them until himself at the cross. So when I start to succumb to the negativity of today’s environment, it will always be my choice to choose gratitude, because door #2 just may be a mule. Which door will you choose today?

Until next time, stay chic


Luke 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

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