Regina’s Writings: Custody of the Eyes

by Regina Cram

I was scurrying around the recycling center when a man sauntered in my direction and smiled. I nodded vaguely and continued sorting plastics.

A moment later, he passed me again. “Hi,” he said with a smile. “Um, hi,” I responded and kept moving. 

I was hauling trash cans to the dumpster when he strolled over and offered, “Need help?”

“No thanks,” I stated, escaping toward a group of retirees discussing the news.

A moment later, he was back again. “I’m Mike,” he offered.

“Oh,” I stammered. “Hi.” I was uneasy, so I finished my task in record time. As I climbed into my car, he called out, “Nice to meet you! Want to have lunch sometime?”

I drove away.

At dinner that evening, we had a lively family discussion about the incident, which our teenagers found hilarious. I mean, who gets picked up at the dump?

“What did the guy look like, Mom?” an older teen inquired.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” she pressed. “You looked at him, didn’t you?” “Actually, I didn’t,” I replied. “He was trying to pick me up. Why would I want to look at him?”

A younger child piped up. “But Mom, remember? ‘Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu.'”

“I remember, sweetheart, but I disagree. Sometimes it can hurt to look. Do you remember the story of Abraham and Lot?”

“Abraham, who?” she asked. “You mean Abraham Lincoln?”

The older kids giggled.

“No, sweetheart, Abraham in the Bible and his nephew Lot,” I explained. The kids stared at me blankly. 

I continued. “Abraham and Lot’s families shared the same land until their herds became too big. Lot liked the appearance of the lush Jordan Valley, where the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located, so that’s where he headed. Abraham moved in the opposite direction.”

“I still don’t understand,’ the teens complained.

“Lot’s problems began when he glanced toward Sodom,” I continued. “He liked what he saw, so he pitched his tent outside the city. Soon, he was living inside the city gates, where he quickly became a leader in Sodom, ensnared by evil and offering his daughters as prostitutes. Lot was righteous but got into trouble when he didn’t run away from temptation. Instead, he gradually edged closer to the darkness. He hadn’t counted on the temptation winning.”

“Yeah, and his wife got into trouble when she looked back at the burning city, and God zapped her into a pillar of salt!” a kid oozed with enthusiasm.

“But Mom,” a teen pressed with an unsettled voice, “You wouldn’t have really been tempted by him, would you?”

“No, I wouldn’t,” I answered honestly. “But even good people succumb to temptation when their eyes linger too long. Being faithful with our eyes leads to being faithful with our lives – and faithfulness is way cooler than any guy at the dump.”

Regina Cram is a published author and parishioner of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish.