I've always wanted to be one of those people who stepped up to pay for someone’s groceries or bill at a restaurant. Especially after over ten years ago, someone was that person for us. We’d had a nice meal in a restaurant—four of us. Dinner was on us because we were paying the other couple back for something they’d done for us. As always then there was more month at the end of the money, so when we went up to pay the bill and the cashier told us it was already paid, it really made our day. And gave me something extra to be grateful for. Since then I’ve wanted to do that, but never have, at least in quite that way.
Sure I’ve paid a quarter here and there for someone who was short a bit at the store. I give to some charities. I believe in being as generous as you can, whenever you can and wherever you can. I believe it may have been C.S. Lewis who said that if what you give isn’t hard for you, then you aren’t giving enough. Something about if it doesn’t crimp your lifestyle, then give more. I can’t say I do that. I think most of us, me included, try to not let our giving get in the way of our living.
That said, I had the opportunity to be one of those people that I’ve always wanted to be. I was standing in a shopping line at our local ShopKo. I had some gifts for the Angel Tree that I was buying. It’s something we’ve always tried to do, or if the year was tight, we’d at least buy a toy for Toys or Tots. The woman in front of me, had only one item, a Moana DVD. It seemed to be a gift that she was buying for someone else. The price was more than she’d expected and she opened her purse and realized that she didn’t have enough. She told the clerk to hold it for her and that she would come back later.
I had only a second to decide before she would have been on her way. “Put it on mine.”I'd said. She looked at me and said, “No, you can’t do that.” We argued a bit, but I convinced her that it was my day to do something nice for other people. After she agreed, she gave me a big hug. It was a little thing. But It meant a lot to her, but probably even more to me. I got to have that Christmasy feeling and it cost me all of $20.00.
So here’s the most interesting part of the story. You know that scripture in Ecclesiastes that says, “Cast your bread upon the waters. For thou shalt find it after many days.” So usually we take that idea in general, kind of like Karma. But in this case it wasn’t in generalities, it was quite literal that my 20.00 would come back to me. So a very long time ago, like over 20 years ago, I was selling some of my pottery. Most, if not all, of anyone who would possibly have read this far, knows that I make and sell pottery. Anyway all those years ago, a shopper wanted something she couldn’t afford at the time because they hadn’t been paid yet or whatever. I told her she could pay me later, and quipped that I believe in the 90 days same as cash theory. This was in another town and even in another state, so I left her a card with my address. And she knew how to get in touch with me if she lost it. Well, needless to say, she never paid me. I sent a reminder after a few months and then just let it drop. For years after I wondered why she never paid me. It usually takes me a long time to forget that someone owes me money, even if it’s 5.00. But eventually I had pretty much forgotten about it. So imagine, my surprise, actually shock, when a few days after the ShopKo incident, the shopper sent me a letter with a $20.00 bill and an apology for not paying me. Of course, it made me grin from ear to ear. Never have I so quickly had Karma so quickly pay me back in the exact amount I had given.