Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful Tidbits - Unexpected Surprises 11-20

"Good deeds" boost your spirit a bit, don't they? Whether you are on the receiving end or the giving end, a good deed can change your entire outlook on the day. In today's world, they come as little unexpected surprises.

Last night, I ran some errands with the girls. On our way home, I remembered that I forgot to get eggs and milk. Cosidering those are pretty standard breakfast staples, I knew we needed to stop despite the strong urge I had to go straight home. Getting the kids out the van one more time could lead to a potential breakdown (by them or me).

The girls cooperated splendidly and I was even able to remember all the ingredients off the top of my head that I needed to make soup. As I was loading the groceries into the van, I was not looking forward to returning the cart. I know, however, that returning the cart to the corral is the right thing to do, it sets an example for my children, and at Aldi it means saving 25 cents as well.

Just as I was about to pull Ande out of the trunk (it was either have her there or climbing out of the cart on her own), a man came up to me with his daughter and asked if he could take my cart. He held out his hand to give me the 25 cents. "I don't have a quarter." (This happenes all the time at Aldi where someone asks to take the cart because they only have odd change rather than the needed quarter to retrieve a shopping cart.) I smiled and with a little bit of excitement and relief in my voice, excalimed, "Of course! Thank you!" He had no idea that he was doing me a favor by taking that cart. It was so much easier to just get Ande buckled into her seat and leave. Whether the man saw me with the kids and thought he'd be helping me out or I was helping him out, it didn't matter. It was a little unexpected surprise and it felt good.

As I was sorting through receipts this morning, I found another unexpected suprise - 12 cents. This man cheated me. I'm glad that I didn't realize he shortchanged me until this morning. I felt as though the man helped me by taking the cart. Which he did, just not as honestly and kindly as I had first assumed. The truth of the matter is that I seemed to have helped him in a bigger way than he helped me.

I wonder what made the man feel the need to deceive me? I wonder if he gave any thought to the fact that his daughter was witnessing his lies (whether she knew it or not)? I wonder what his financial situation is? I wonder if I would lie over something as little as 13 cents? It's only 13 cents... and it makes me wonder...

Am I willing to compromise my values over 13 cents, to cover my own embarassment or simply for a little convenience? If we allow a little wiggle room in the small stuff, how will we ever be found faithful when it comes to things that really matter?

And while it may seem to him that he came out of the situation with the better deal, he is mistaken. I almost feel even better that I was able to help him out because he felt the need to lie. Earlier in the evening, $10 I wasn't expecting in a return I made as well as a lonely $10 bill laying on the ground last night, came as unexpected surprises. I took these as little reminders from God that He will take care of me. Whether I am being cheated out of 13 cents or my own neglect is costing us a new set of garage doors. I am thankful for God's unexpected surprises.

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