This past Saturday was no exception. A man was stationed in between the two exit doors, so you had no choice but to walk by him. He wasn't just standing there with his donation jar. He was asking for money.
The one cause I never say no to is the food bank. I figure that if they're at the supermarket, handing out flyers, they must be in short supply. And I admit, I don't tend to think about the food bank when the need is not in front of me.
But when I'm on my way out, and I'm asked if I will please donate to a cause I've never even heard of, and I get this every week...well, it makes me want to push those dollars down deeper in my pocket, rather than pull them out. I find it downright annoying!
I complained about this to the Hubster while we were walking to the car.
"I hate when they ask for money. It's one thing to stand there, but when they ask...I hate that." In his usual fashion, he grunted (Sidenote: Did you know that a husband's grunts can mean 500 different things?).
Anyway, we got to the car and that was that. It was forgotten.
Until I got to my volunteer "job" that evening at a local performing arts center. I am often asked to assist with directing people to the nearby parking garages, and I always answer with a cheerful, "Sure, I'll be happy to help with that!" I enjoy talking to people when I'm standing on the street corner, but mostly I say yes because when I get back to the theatre, my job is done, and I get to see the whole show. But with the extreme cold, I actually said no. (Gasp!). Yes...I said no.
So when I got to the theatre, I assumed I'd be ushering. When the house manager saw me, he stopped short and sort of grinned. I said, "What?"
"I need you to do something tonight."
"Something very important."
I started to get excited. Why was I being singled out to do this "important" job? Out of 25 or so people, why me?
He handed me a basket.
"I need you to go through the audience and ask for donations for the victims of last week's fire."
"Okay. I can do that."
Wait...did he say..."ask?"
As if reading my mind, he continued. "Just walk up and down the aisles and yell out something like, "Please donate for the victims of the fire!"
Oh, no! I'll do anything. But please....PLEASE...don't ask me to do the one thing I hate doing! I can't. I can't beg for money.
So I took my little basket (which, by the way, is not the one in the picture, nor is the sign) and stood in the lobby as people came in. But they were busy taking off their hats and coats, and putting their tickets away and finding the rest rooms. Then they were busy at the bar. Spending money, I might add. Money that could be placed into my basket. Suddenly, I was on the other side of the basket, making judgments about the apathetic and uncaring people! Of course, they probably didn't know what my basket was for, since I WASN'T SHOUTING OUT ORDERS TO DONATE!
So I meandered into the theatre. I walked up and down the aisles with my little basket. But I still didn't open my mouth. All night, before the show and during the TWO intermissions (yes, of course there were two intermissions...just to make it even worse for me!), I walked up and down the aisles and around the lobby. Occasionally, I blurted out, "Donations for the fire victims!" and kept walking.
People did donate. Some called me over. As they fumbled for their wallets, they'd ask me about the fire and the victims. At times, I felt like I was an usher at church. One lady even asked me for change.
Perhaps I was chosen for this very special job because it's no secret that I am outgoing and love to talk to people. Perhaps it was punishment for saying no to "parking." Perhaps because I said no, I was an extra body, since they had to find someone else to do the parking...and they didn't know what to do with me.
Whatever it was, I think it was ironic that the very thing I complained about that morning is what I was asked to do that evening.
God really does have a sense of humor.
Be careful what you complain about...it might come right back at you!
Blessings Along the Path,
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