This is not an advent thought, just something funny that happened in my mind at the store today.
Many of you know the history of my relationship with adult beverages. I was well into my twenties before I consumed alcohol. Before that, I believed this to be a sin. My thoughts varied from a cautionary "Well, it may not be wrong in and of itself, but it's not good for your witness," to a more fundamentalist "The very act of putting the stuff in your body is a sin."
I had my first drink alone in my apartment when I was living in Dallas. I did this alone because I still thought I was doing something very wrong. I drank a small amount, just enough for me to come close to getting a buzz. I still had a lifetime of stories (and lies) from preachers and youth ministers about people who died of alcohol poisoning with just one drink.
I moved back to Marshall and ceased my sinful behavior, because of my position at an institution that forbade such activity of it's employees.
When I moved to Waco, things began to change. The subject became a conversation piece, a good struggle that included new thoughts on scripture and culture. I came to the conclusion that the Bible spoke out against a lifestyle of destructive drunkenness, but that total abstinence cannot be found in the whole of the text. This opened the floodgates, literally and figuratively. If scripture was against a "lifestyle of destructive drunkenness," I reasoned, then getting drunk wasn't necessarily wrong. ERGO, Party!!!
Alright, speeding this up to get to the story from the store...
I drank a lot. Not everyday, or even every week. But when I drank, I DRANK.
When I began to try to lose weight and get healthier, and also when I became more comfortable with who I am, the drinking slowly tapered off to where it is now.
Now, I drink. Meaning-- I do happy hour once a week with my friends. When I eat at a Mexican restaurant, I have a Margarita or a Dos Equis. There's usually beer in the refrigerator, but sometimes it takes me weeks before I finish off a six pack. That's about it. I think about it rarely.
Gone is the need to prove how "liberated" I am because I drink.
Or so I thought.
At the store this evening I ran into a new couple from church. I've only met them once, at a Sunday School party, and forgot their names. But we recognized each other and stopped to talk for a bit. We reminded each other who we were, talked a little about church, then said we look forward to seeing each other again. Later, when I saw them in another aisle, I noticed a case of Shiner in their cart. (I'm a cart looker.) I didn't initially think anything of it. But then I began to wonder, "What if they think I'm one of those people who look down on them because they have beer in their cart?" So I did what any mature drinker would do-- I went to the beer aisle to get a six pack. I walked around the store some more, hoping to run into them again so they could see how unjudgemental I was because I also drink beer.
I never ran into them. I laughed out loud at myself. I thought about how funny it was that I wanted to call them(if I had their number) and say, "Hey, I'm not sure if you remember me from the store, but I just wanted to let you know that after I got my oatmeal and bread, I then went to get some beer. You may think I don't believe in drinking, because there was no beer in my cart (if you were looking in my cart, as I was looking in yours,) but I can ASSURE you, I drink. A LOT! I've deconstructed the hell out of the alcohol issue, and I'm liberated. You are probably new to this game, but I've been here all along. So anyway, just wanted to let you know.... I bought beer. Yessiree Bob. Beer, beer, beer."
So, anyway, just thought I'd let you have a glimpse into my idiotic mind.