Friday, March 31, 2006

Beauty is as beauty does

One day closer to starting the move.... We didn't get to take Em's bed down until last night; just no time after church Wednesday. This time it went much more smoothly. Now we only have the twin beds left to disassemble. I'm guessing those won't be too difficult. Brian will start taking stuff over tomorrow while I am at Noah's ball practice with him in the morning. Then we'll all work together the rest of the day.

I got this wild idea yesterday that I can't get out of my head. The new house has one entire wall upstairs that is nothing but floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. It's probably about 8-10 feet wide (maybe even wider). I would love to actually catalog our books, like a *real* library. I have this thing about wanting to know just where each book is, and cataloging them would really help. Is there anyone else out there who shares this slightly anal trait with me???

Doing my part to make the world a little more beautiful today; I have an appointment to get my hair cut and colored this afternoon. :)

Speaking of beautiful, read this awesome Tony Campolo story I found online yesterday:

A few years ago Tony flew to Hawaii to speak at a conference. The way he tells it, he checks into his hotel and tries to get some sleep. Unfortunately, his internal clock wakes him at 3:00 a.m. The night is dark, the streets are silent, the world is asleep, but Tony is wide awake and his stomach is growling.

He gets up and prowls the streets looking for a place to get some bacon and eggs for an early breakfast. Everything is closed except for a grungy dive in an alley. He goes in and sits down at the counter. The fat guy behind the counter comes over and asks, "What d'ya want?"

Well, Tony isn't so hungry anymore so eying some donuts under a plastic cover he says, "I'll have a donut and black coffee."

As he sits there munching on his donut and sipping his coffee at 3:30, in walk eight or nine provocative, loud prostitutes just finished with their night's work. They plop down at the counter and Tony finds himself uncomfortably surrounded by this group of smoking, swearing hookers. He gulps his coffee, planning to make a quick getaway. Then the woman next to him says to her friend, "You know what? Tomorrow's my birthday. I'm gonna be 39." To which her friend nastily replies, "So what d'ya want from me? A birthday party? Huh? You want me to get a cake, and sing happy birthday to you?"

The first woman says, "Aw, come on, why do you have to be so mean? Why do you have to put me down? I'm just sayin' it's my birthday. I don't want anything from you. I mean, why should I have a birthday party? I've never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?"

Well, when Tony Campolo heard that, he said he made a decision. He sat and waited until the women left, and then he asked the fat guy at the counter, "Do they come in here every night?"

"Yeah," he answered.

"The one right next to me," he asked, "she comes in every night?"

"Yeah," he said, "that's Agnes. Yeah, she's here every night. She's been comin' here for years. Why do you want to know?"

"Because she just said that tomorrow is her birthday. What do you think? Do you think we could maybe throw a little birthday party for her right here in the diner?"

A cute kind of smile crept over the fat man's chubby cheeks. "That's great," he says, "yeah, that's great. I like it." He turns to the kitchen and shouts to his wife, "Hey, come on out here. This guy's got a great idea. Tomorrow is Agnes' birthday and he wants to throw a party for her right here."

His wife comes out. "That's terrific," she says. "You know, Agnes is really nice. She's always trying to help other people and nobody does anything nice for her."

So they make their plans. Tony says he'll be back at 2:30 the next morning with some decorations and the man, whose name turns out to be Harry, says he'll make a cake.

At 2:30 the next morning, Tony is back. He has crepe paper and other decorations and a sign made of big pieces of cardboard that says, "Happy Birthday, Agnes!" They decorate the place from one end to the other and get it looking great. Harry had gotten the word out on the streets about the party and by 3:15 it seemed that every prostitute in Honolulu was in the place. There were hookers wall to wall.

At 3:30 on the dot, the door swings open and in walks Agnes and her friend. Tony has everybody ready. They all shout and scream "Happy Birthday, Agnes!" Agnes is absolutely flabbergasted. She's stunned, her mouth falls open, her knees started to buckle, and she almost falls over.

And when the birthday cake with all the candles is carried out, that's when she totally loses it. Now she's sobbing and crying. Harry, who's not used to seeing a prostitute cry, gruffly mumbles, "Blow out the candles, Agnes. Cut the cake."

So she pulls herself together and blows them out. Everyone cheers and yells, "Cut the cake, Agnes, cut the cake!"

But Agnes looks down at the cake and, without taking her eyes off it, slowly and softly says, "Look, Harry, is it all right with you if...I mean, if I don't...I mean, what I want to ask, is it OK if I keep the cake a little while? Is it all right if we don't eat it right away?"

Harry doesn't know what to say so he shrugs and says, "Sure, if that's what you want to do. Keep the cake. Take it home if you want."

"Oh, could I?" she asks. Looking at Tony she says, "I live just down the street a couple of doors; I want to take the cake home, is that okay? I'll be right back, honest."

She gets off her stool, picks up the cake, and carries it high in front of her like it was the Holy Grail. Everybody watches in stunned silence and when the door closes behind her, nobody seems to know what to do. They look at each other. They look at Tony.

So Tony gets up on a chair and says, "What do you say that we pray together?"
And there they are in a hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon, half the prostitutes in Honolulu, at 3:30 a.m. listening to Tony Campolo as he prays for Agnes, for her life, her health, and her salvation. Tony recalls, "I prayed that her life would be changed, and that God would be good to her."

When he's finished, Harry leans over, and with a trace of hostility in his voice, he says, "Hey, you never told me you was a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to anyway?"

In one of those moments when just the right words came, Tony answers him quietly, "I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning."

Harry thinks for a moment, and in a mocking way says, "No you don't. There ain't no church like that. If there was, I'd join it. Yep, I'd join a church like that."


jettybetty said...

I love that Tony story--truly convicting, truly! I wanna join a church like that, too.

Hope the move goes well--I LOVE the idea about organizing your books--but I will confess I am pretty anal about my books! What don't you take a picture once it's done for all to enjoy???

Jenni said...

I think a *real* library is a GREAT idea!!! I would do it myself, if I had enough bookshelf space!

I need to do the same thing with my CDs.....

Carrie said...

Karen - if you really want to do that with your books, has a way for you to enter books online. I haven't done it before, but you might check it out - I know some of the blogs I read use it. You can even set it up to show random books from your library on your sidebar.

Rick J said...

I cried the first time I read that story... and almost did this time. :-)
Maybe... little by little... we're becoming a church like that, eh?!?

Thumper said...

Ohhhhhhh...floor to ceiling bookcases. One of the few things that inspires real envy in me....that and really sweet convertibles :)

Sandy said...

I color coded my books one year with sticky dots... problem is, if you are a true bookaholic (which is anyone who can describe her primary house decor as "library") you keep getting more and more books to have to catalog. I gave up (sigh).

davidcwelker said...

I did a search under Tony Campolo and found your blog entry. I love that story. Never fails to bring a tear to my eye. I had the opportunity to meet Tony Campolo last night and hear him preach. Wow, what a preacher.
nice blog

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