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....