Two days ago, my daughter and I stood in line at IKEA. Halfway through loading our "small stuff" onto the conveyor belt and repositioning the "big stuff" (I'd tell you what it all was but it would ruin some Christmas surprises!) in the cart, the woman at the register held up her hand, stop-style.
The credit card for the people ahead of us wasn't going through, and she needed to call a manager. Those of us in the rather long line followed her head around the front of the store as she looked for the manager. Then we noticed all the other people in other lines (and if you've been to IKEA, you know there are a lot of lines!) were doing the same thing. Then someone yelled (or said pretty loudly) out, "It might be a problem with the banks. The cards aren't going through?."
And in that moment, I thought, Well, here we are: in IKEA (munching on a bag of Swedish fish I haven't yet paid for), the moment the entire banking system finally collapsed.
In the first few minutes of waiting and wondering, my mind wandered to some weird places: I looked sadly at my daughter and thought about what her life would be like now that we were officially entering another Great Depression. I thought of my many family members employed by banks and wondered what they would do. I hoped Christianity Today International (the company behind Gifted For Leadership) had processed my latest paycheck - and hoped it would still be good. But where would I deposit it if the banks are gone?.
On and on it went, and with every "what if" that zipped through my brain, I began to get more nervous. By the time my Blackberry buzzed in my purse - alerting me to an incoming email - I was convinced the world outside that IKEA, the one in which I had always known, had totally fallen away. And I was a bit scared.
Fully expecting the email to be one of my Chicago Tribune e-mail news alerts (which keeps me up to snuff on world and local events as I blitz around through my day) indeed informing me of the Total World Financial Collapse, I was surprised to see instead a email thread from my sisters-in-law about our Secret Santa exchange. No email alerts at all. Suddenly I felt much calmer. Then a few moments later a store manager came over to turn a key on the register, plunk in a new code, and apologize for the delay.
"Our system blipped," she said. "Sorry, folks!"
So the banks were fine after all. Just a little blip. Phew. But then something bigger hit me, much more troublesome. For one, I was ashamed how quickly I allowed myself to get freaked out over my own over-active imagination (though in this economic climate, it wasn't that far-fetched to imagine!). For two - and this was the biggie - I realized that never in my worry had I prayed or sought God's counsel or comfort. I ultimately found relief in my Blackberry.