It begins with one of my weaknesses-- I admit I am a sucker for anything free. I love shopping Costco if only because their free samples are so…free. Trader Joe’s has delicious and healthier tastes every day that are…free. In the olden days when they passed out cigarettes on street corners I made sure to get some though I didn’t smoke. I am a sucker for anything free.
So the invitation to join a kind of club at my grocery store (what you so cal natives call your "market") and get a dozen free eggs and some very impressive bargains was a no brainer. All I had to do was go on line, set up a user name and password (which I wrote down somewhere but I don’t know where) and automatically be eligible for very special deals. They would be listed every week. I just needed to remember to check the list and make sure I shopped for what was on sale. No coupon clipping. Just enter my club number and everything would happen like, well magic.
I was surprised, then, to get a message from my club. I hadn’t expected personal communication. I opened it quickly hoping that I was eligible for something else…free. Instead there was a notice that the canned food my poodles Rookie and Blue like best was on sale --10 22 oz. cans for a dollar. Wow! Amazing deal. And my gala apples were on sale for .$99 a pound. Whew! Couldn’t beat those prices.
Then I paused for a moment. It felt just a little bit creepy that this machine knew so much about me. That every time I buy something at the store, a little creature is writing it down and saving it up in a file that is all about me. I blushed for a moment, hoping they weren’t too upset the other day when I bought three bags of chocolate chips, a bag of valentine jelly beans and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “Americone Dream” ice cream. Or if they did notice, I trusted that they also noticed that my cart more often has lots of romaine lettuce and fresh fruit.
“They know all about me,” I fussed. And then after another, somewhat longer pause, I relaxed. I even smiled.
They know all about me, I thought, but they really don’t know me. They don’t know that the canned dog food is what gets my furry friends to eat their dinner more quickly so that we can take a walk before it is time to make my dinner. They don’t know how I laugh watching them steal each other’s food when they each have exactly the same thing.
And those apples? Not just apples. That’s what I eat every noon with my ¼ cup of dry roasted peanuts. When I am home I sit on the patio loving the sun, reading a book and taking a few minutes away from everything else I should be doing or thinking or worrying. Those apples are more than round red things in a bag. They feed my body, and they feed my soul.
So even if someone were to find out everything about me, and get my social security number and my bank account number and all my pin numbers, if someone were to sit down at my computer and figure out my password in a second, if they were to know all about me, they still wouldn’t know me.
There might be identity theft, but no one can steal my identity or your identity. Nobody can take what makes us who we are, from our God given gifts, to our God forbid quirks, to the things that make us laugh and the things that make us cry. Because the only One who matters knows us best of all, and loves us anyway.
For God is good... all the time!