Monday, November 5, 2007

People or Paper?

People or Paper?

Saturday two little four-year-olds visited me. They are identical twins. As we were driving, they spontaneously started a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Being twins their first five or so tries each came up with the identical symbol: both were rocks, both were scissors, both were rocks again.

In the game the object is to make the hand symbol that is stronger than the other person’s. So rock against rock is a draw. But rock against scissors: rock smashes scissors. Or scissors against paper: scissors cut paper. In the game, paper is the weakest symbol.

Then Sunday morning I went to church. A dear friend shared a sad story of a man battling a fatal disease. He faces lost work time as he gets treatment. He needs his employment and benefits to keep going. She said she wanted to donate some of her own sick leave days to his “account.” She was told that she couldn’t do that because they were in different levels of employment of the same company. Her voice shook as she said, “Paper is more important than people.”

Paper is NOT more important than people but that’s how we live at times. What a great reminder and challenge to live and order my life (and to encourage others to do the same) so that people always trump paper. Balancing priorities to always value people more than paper cuts against the grain of bureaucracy but it's the right way to live.

In our world, paper is often more important than people. But that’s a really skewed value. It’s upside down! People are more important than paper every time! Life should mimic the game making paper the weaker symbol: not paper crushes people but people care for people more than paper.

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