Friday, September 30, 2005

You've got to give it away to keep it

I am feeling a little bit blue and thought maybe writing about one of my favorite experiences would cheer me. For some reason, I have remembered this incident several times this week, even though it happened 11 years ago.

In the summer that I was to celebrate 10 years of sobriety, I decided to goof off as much as I could. I got caught up on all of my bills, and then quit my job! I had enough money to pay the rent for the summer, but would need to get "extra" money to pay for anything else - like food. When I needed some money, I worked as a Kelly temporary. Over the summer, I applied for several permanent jobs, including putting in an application with the state. I didn't really give it another thought.

It was late August, I was broke, and I really needed to get a "real" job. I was working as a temp and called my voice mail for messages during a break. Well, I had a doozie of a message! It was someone from the State - not only the State, but it was a hospital and the job was a job in my chosen field! I didn't even know that was possible when I applied for a generic state job.

When I got home from work, I returned the call and made arrangements to come in for an interview the next day. That was exciting, but I had a major problem. I had NO money. I am serious. I had NO money. I didn't have the bus fare to get to the interview, and I didn't have the couple of dollars to pay for a pair of pantyhose, and I really didn't know how I could get to the interview.

Being somewhat practiced in living by spiritual principles, I withdrew to my bedroom, and got real quiet and prayed. I told God my problem, and just waited quietly for some sort of answer. I had an intuitive thought (that is how I think God talks to me) and the thought was weird - it was "give something away." Oh, how I wanted to argue with that thought! I didn't have anything, that was what I was praying about!

I came out of my bedroom and into the kitchen. In the kitchen, I saw the half pint jars of peach jam I had made, all lined up in rows. Well, it occurred to me that I COULD give away a jar of peach jam. So I sheepishly walked downstairs to a neighbor's apartment. I was hoping he wouldn't be home so that I could anonymously leave a jar of peach jam on his doorstep. But he was home, and I felt foolish giving him a jar of peach jam. I was happy to see that he really seemed to appreciate it.

I walked back up to my apartment and thought - well, that was great, now what am I going to do? It was a hot day, so I changed into a pair of shorts. When I put them on, I reached into the pocket and there was a ten dollar bill. I quickly thanked God, and walked to the store for a pair of stockings and got the change I needed for bus fare.

Now, you may say that the ten dollar bill was in that pocket all the time and I would have found it anyway. I am not so sure I believe that. It really doesn't matter though. In my eyes, that ten spot was a gift from God. And he needed me to give something away before I could have it. It has always worked like that for me. I cannot horde my goods and have bounty. I have to give away what ever I have, whether it be spiritual or temporal.

Post Script to the story: I did get that job. It was a wonderful job where my boss was a terrific mentor to me. She encouraged me to go to school. I did get my bachelor's degree and I ended up as the director of the department in which I started as an administrative assistant. I continued in school and got a master's degree. I was promoted out of my beloved department, and got the job I actually dreamed of when I was new. I remain at the hospital still - over eleven years later. I love it there - even on bad days when I "hate" it, I really love it.

For the price of a jar of peach jam....


wozza said...

I know some starving kids in Africa would love to find ten dollars in their pocket given to them by God. Why does God do this for you and neglect people so much more needy?

Billy said...

I have been a reader of this blog for a little while and it truly is an inspiration. Thank you so much for the bright in my day!

Ed G. said...

Lovely story then, lovely story now - thanx for the link...