One of the perks of having an office job is that when the holidays come around, we have lots of edible goodies that arrive by mail! Every year, we get boxes filled with chocolate, truffles, candy, fruit, cake, cookies, wine, cheese, and other wonderful treats.
Yesterday, I had a mini bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and they were heavenly! It’s really one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever had. I’m sure that there are preservatives in it, but I couldn’t taste any of the weird artificial stuff most pastries have.
I didn’t have pockets full of jellybeans or chocolate kisses to give to my friend, so I STOLE this treat from my office. Yup, not only do I lie, I also steal!
I could justify my actions by telling you that the cake was probably going to go into the trash at the end of the day because my coworkers don’t over indulge in desserts like I do, but it’s not necessary. I could also make an excuse that I’m simply trying to follow my horoscope, but that isn’t true either.
I wanted to bring joy into someone else’s day. I thought that the cake was so delicious that it would be a shame not to share it with my friend. That was good enough reason for me. I don’t think that stealing automatically makes me a bad or unethical.
My small act of theft reminded me of a documentary. Shanghai Ghetto is about Holocaust survivors who fled to Shanghai during WWII. One of the most poignant interviews came from a woman who recalled a Chinese kid stealing food from her family. At that time there were many Chinese locals who were even poorer than the Jewish immigrants. There was no judgment or anger about the situation. Her mother simply explained to her that that kid must have needed the food more than they did. He wasn’t a bad kid.
While it’s easy to see the world in absolute rights and wrongs , or “shoulds” and “should nots” as I like to call them, there are many gray areas. We each use our experiences, judgments, and feelings to figure out how to interpret those gray areas.
Over the years, I’ve let go of a lot of shoulds and shoulds nots. The less I see things in absolute terms, the better I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I still have strong beliefs about many things. I just don’t get hung up on the little things anymore. It frees up my time to tend to the important stuff.
In my book, stealing cake for a friend is small stuff. Bringing joy to someone’s day is the big stuff.