Sunday, July 15, 2012

Passing The Test This Time

Yesterday my friend Dave payed me for this weekend's services helping him in his booth doing the San Rafael Gem Faire event. I placed the money in a 4 X 6 ziplock plastic bag and then placed that bag in one of the lower leg pockets of my cargo pants. I also had in that pocket and other pant pockets some bags of smaller baggies to put customer's items in as I walked around the booth assisting the public. Over the course of the day I forgot I had my money in a bag in my pocket... the same sort of bag in which the show baggies were placed. At the end of the day I was tired and strung out from the general Gem Faire soul-crushing experience and this weekend added to that is the sort of uninspiring crowd that showed up today... not what you expect in Marin County and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Anywho, at the close of the dismal day I was able to conjure up the presence of mind to remember to empty my pockets of pens, calculator and baggies and leave them in the booth when I left it for the day. I say this because I have this annoying habit of often discovering after I have left the show at the end of the day that I left in my pockets various items related to conducting the show such as pens, calculators, baggies, 3 X 5 cards. etc. In these instances I always end up needing to leave those items in Dave's truck or in the hotel room to take back to the show in the morning. Indeed, often my first reminder I have made this error is when I first sit down in Dave's truck and realize I just sat on scissors located in my hip pocket. Thus this time I doffed the pens, calculator, and baggies I had in my pockets before I walked out the door for the day. Last night we stayed in Rohnert Park due to some hassles with our initial accommodations so we drove up Highway 101 to get there from the show venue.

At some point in between locations I checked my pants for my money bag and realized my bag of money was not in my pant's pocket. Upon realizing this I felt heart-sick given I am currently a man of modest means and this money was going to be my first foray into not having money I make immediately get sucked up into paying for things that are due or past due. I tried to wrack my mind for some memory of what I might have done with it but was pretty sure I accidentally pulled it out when I pulled out baggies for customers and then probably left it sitting somewhere in the booth either on the floor or on one of the tables atop a tray of something or other. The next questions that wracked my brain were how honest would the person finding it be and had it already been found or had it evaded being found as a result of having been lost quite close to closing time? Then another disheartening thought occurred to me: what if it fell out of my pants in the men's room while I was sitting on my throne?

At my deepest moment of panic and despair I remembered my loving Creator. I pondered upon the reality that He is in control and I most certainly am not. I knew I was supposed to do this show and that I was where I was supposed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing. I did a quick internal check to see if this might be some sort of reproof from Him for some error that had alluded me but nothing came to mind. Then I realized there was nothing I could do but ask Him to make things work out and help me to let go of this and fall into His hands and just TRUST HIM!

At that point I made a conscious decision to do precisely that and I proceeded to do just that for the remainder of the evening and through the night and into this morning when I arrived at the show venue. Something else came to mind as my mind raced to find meaning in this misfortune: what if my losing my money was my role to play in somebody else's story? What if they needed the money more than me? What if they were being tested by God in finding my money and being required to make a choice as to what to do with it, to wit, turn it in or keep it? What if they even needed to fail that test now in order to find God later on in life? All of us in this life create ripples in the wake of our existence and those ripples interact with other's ripples in complex ways our minds cannot begin to get themselves wrapped around. If I lost my money I accepted that it was never really mine to begin with and that my losing it where and when I did was my destiny and my purpose.

I then quickly found myself at ease and in peace (went on to have a nice, relaxing evening downtown Santa Rosa) primally knowingly that somehow and someway this was going to work out. It helped, too, that at one point I remembered that as I emptied my pockets right before leaving the show I had taken out one bag of baggies and tossed it on the cash box under the protective throws we use to cover the booth overnight. I also remembered that it seemed I had long before that used up my baggies I kept in my pocket. Could that discarded bag have been my cash bag? Who knew? But somehow I knew this story was going to have a good ending even if not in any way I could imagine.

So this morning while in a state of resting and being at peace I walked into our booth and flipped up the cover and there was my bag of money all safe and sound! I was so relieved and yet I sort of expected this outcome even while not taking for granted it would happen this way. Since then while pondering upon these matters it occurs to me that I was the one being tested and not somebody else. Although I fear jinxing myself saying this it sure looks and feels like I passed my test this time. I was tested if I would trust God and I did. I was tested if I would accept being a role player to somebody else's life and be obedient and I did. I also need to get used to passing spiritual tests and not marvel as if it were a strange thing to succeed in regards to that.


  1. I'm so glad that your story/challenge had a good ending and especially that A+ grade that was hard to come by. In that boat that we travel within through life's many waters, you have remained calm and waited on the Lord to quiet the storm. I imagine that all those disciples who were in that boat that day with Jesus are looking down upon you with much pride and joy. :-)

  2. I agree with Lin. Allison