What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Friday marked Ian’s quarter-century, and also his only birthday when the date coincided with his age. We celebrated with a meal at a steakhouse up the road, followed by opening the gifts I had compiled for him (a Sudoku 365-day calendar, the last season of Babylon 5, and Mario Party 8 for the Wii) and watching Ian’s favorite episode of Star Trek: Next Generation (for nostalgia’s sake). Not wildly exciting, but we enjoyed ourselves and went to bed early, as we always do.
The next day I did all sorts of chores, which can feel remarkably good when you finish. Besides the pleasure of having all clean laundry or a sparkling sink, there’s also the knowledge that I did a good job and won’t have to do it again for a while. Part of those chores also included mailing packages to various people, who will receive them in 7 to 10 days, or whenever the Post Office feels like delivering them. The visit to the Post Office proved my downfall. As I walked up to the door, a hand-lettered sign asked me to consider purchasing —
GIRL SCOUT COOKIES
–for myself or for soldiers in Iraq. On the way in, I hid behind my stack of packages and slipped past the three brownies sitting there with their mothers.
On my way out, though, I looked at the girls, with their little brown sashes and cute ponytails, and my resistance crumbled. I conducted my transaction with a girl no more than six years old, whose mother stood next to her and coached her:
Mom: “Ask her what kind of cookie she wants, dear.”
Girl: “What kind do you want?”
Me [Being extra-polite]: “I’d like Peanut Butter Patties, please.”
My cookie choice is nudged at me.
Mom: “Tell her it’s four dollars.”
Girl: “That’s four dollars.”
Me: [Extracting four one-dollar bills from my wallet, thankful I had enough cash to cover the purchase] “Here you go.”
Mom: “Say thank-you.”
Girl: “Thank you.”
Me [Clutching the extremely dear cookies to my chest while mentally calculating how much each individual cookie costs]: “Thank you.”
Gosh. I should give up my job at CRL and sell Girl Scout Cookies instead — I could make a killing, especially if I sold them in July.