Posted by: ritagone | May 30, 2012

Vested Interests


Well, you’ve got to allow me to talk about my recent trip to Europe a little bit, please.  There was so much to take in, so many wondrous sites, amazing experiences, that I hardly know where to begin.  I’ll probably share with you for the next few weeks about our adventures, both large and small.

So today I’ll tell a very, very small story that winds up being a little morality tale that happened in Killarney, our last stop that began in Prague, went to Santa Margherita, Italy, then on to Ireland, as we had planned for months and months and which went off flawlessly, I might add, thanks to the meticulous arrangements made by my wonderful husband (but that’s another story altogether).

And here’s the story: I left the cord to my Kindle in a drawer next to the bed in the hotel room in Santa Margherita.  Didn’t realize it until we were at the Genoa Airport, and by then it was of course too late.  So I was a bit nervous because all the books I planned on reading were stored on my Kindle, and if I ran out of battery life, there was no way to recharge it.  A bit of panic set in, you can be sure.  I’m not one to be anywhere on the planet without a book in hand…or an electronic version of it.

So by the time we settled in to Killarney, my Kindle was decidedly low on battery power, and I had just started yet another novel on it.  Immediately I was captivated by what I was reading, “Sister” by Rosamund Lupton, and, having already read her “Afterwards” on the trip (on the Kindle when it was fully charged back at the beginning of our travels), I was pumped to read another Lupton work.  In fact, I had a sneaking suspicion that this one might end up as my choice for book club selection.  And Michael and I travel together so that we always have time in the afternoon to relax in our room or at a pub or café and do some reading.  That’s the way we roll, and I love it.  To be without a book to read is – for me – like being without something vital like, well, like shoes or a toothbrush.  You get the picture.

So (having made a short morality tale very much longer), we’re walking along a main street in Killarney and come upon a wonderful little bookstore.  We go in.  I ask about “Sister,” and sure enough, she has it in paperback.  I feel obligated to tell the clerk my Kindle saga, and she smiles and says, “Books are better anyway,” meaning that reading on a Kindle to a book store salesperson is always going to be something rather short of criminal or insane or morally questionable.

Why?  Because she has a vested interest in real books and the sale thereof.

If everyone bought and used Kindles and Nooks and such, she would be out of a job.  So she wants people to hold and touch and purchase good old-fashioned paperback and hardback books, the kind you can carry and bend and put bookmarks in and set on tables and loan to friends and family.

Vested interests are all around us.

We walked by a few men on our way to coffee, carriage drivers, trying to lure us to take a carriage ride around the magnificent park which Killarney is famous for.  “It’s a beautiful day to walk,” I responded.  But to these men, it’s a beautiful day to ride in a carriage, because that’s the way they make their living.

Vested interest.  They have a vested interest in people thinking that on a beautiful Thursday afternoon it would be better to ride in a carriage around the park than walk.

We all have vested interests in a lot of things: financial, spiritual, emotional, familial.

What are your vested interests?  And where do they conflict, perhaps, with someone else’s vested interests?  And when they do, what is there to do about it, if anything?  While we were in Europe, of course, the greatest vested interest controversy was and is Greece vs. the rest of Europe and what’s to be done with the currency, the debt, the future of these nations as they struggle to find a balance and a solution to what ails them.  The whole world watches to see how it’s all to be sorted, because one country’s vested interest is obviously not always another’s.

And so I guess my prayer and my thought for today and hopefully the immediate future is that my own vested interests wouldn’t hamper the vested interests of others.  So often I’m so blinded by what I want for myself that I can’t see what’s best for those around me, and I know this doesn’t warm Jesus’ heart.

Lord, may my vested interests always be yours, or may I at least grow more and more willing to discard my own in favor of yours.

Baby steps.

That’s all I’m asking for for today.

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