Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Warning: Doesn't Share Well with Others

There are two things I hate sharing; desserts and garage sale profits. For obvious reasons, my dessert sharing takes number one rating because I choose my desserts carefully. Fancy cupcakes partnered with ice cream is one in particular which I highly pursue. Since I am attracted to elaborate forms of dessert pairings, people vie for what I have, always. If others would choose better, they wouldn’t need to infringe on my personal property. The struggle is real.
Garage sale profits take a close second. These entrepreneurial dreams deliver dirty dollar bills and coins which I work hard to hoard collect. Weeks prior I scour our home snapping up outgrown clothing items, kitchen wares sitting unused, and toys tossed by uninterested children. Each pile grows as I diligently fold, clean, and organize the items in anticipation of quick sales. While my husband refuses to take part, I willingly accept his hands-off attitude with a curt reminder that all earnings will remain entirely mine to spend as I choose.
He was unfazed by my selfishness.
The morning of the garage sale, outfitted with an apron equipped with large pockets, I descended on the anxious buyers. The coin jingle increased and my pockets grew pregnant as the morning sun rose and the ebb and flow of customers continued. Every glass vase vended, pair of shoes sold, and air popper peddled was tethered to anticipatory greedy gains.
As negotiations are finalized and stock is depleted, I tuck the money inside a zipped pouch in my purse where no one can see it, smell it, or touch it, because it is mine. Forever. I set the money securely in my purse without a thought to counting the amount, a rare occurrence. Forgetting the weight of the coins, I went to church the next day still excited about the payoff I had in my possession. The intoxicating smell of wrinkled bills permeated from my purse.
While the pastor spoke of blessings and provision, I gave my handbag a reassuring pat, thanking God for my bulging Ziploc baggie of coins and dollars. Within moments a thought came over me, “Give the pastor your money.” The suggestion to give it all away continued throughout the service. “Give him your money, give him your money.” Dismissing the nagging whispers in my conscience, I unleashed a stronger grip on my purse and greeted the pastor on exit, passing quickly with my coins, and guilt, in tow.
Halfway through the parking lot, guilt making the purse grow ever heavier, I turned with a sigh and walked back toward the church. Catching the pastor’s attention, I motioned him to come my way. As he approached, I reached inside my purse, grabbed the baggie of money, handed it to him, “I don’t know how much is there, but I need you to give it to someone.”
His response was quick, “I know just the person.”
Joy did not immediately flood my soul. I had just ended a relationship with my profits that was necessary, but tough. I missed my money and the short time we spent together. My dreams of indulgent purchases were dashed instantly, so I stopped for a donut to soothe the ache of my loss. Doing what is right isn’t always easy.
The next day the pastor emailed me with the following message:
“I felt compelled to give the money (whatever the amount was) to a single mom who has four children. I walked up to her and said ‘Someone gave this to me, and I am supposed to give it to you.’ She looked down and burst into tears. During the service she felt an impulse to pull out all her cash and put it in the collection basket. It was less than $10, but that was significant to her. She was so grateful for the money.”
After reading the email I no longer missed my money. I began to realize the pleasure of sharing, something I teach our children but obviously had difficulty living out in my own life.
I wish that I could say that I have had nine more garage sales and shared all the money with the pastor. I wish that I could say that I sold some clothes to a consignment shop and shared the money with a stranger, but I cannot. I am trying to do the right thing, but I often fail.
And when it comes to dessert, unless I take a liking to cherry cordials or spice gum drops, which I currently despise, I probably won’t be sharing my dessert…but I’m working on that, too

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