|"Convergence" - a quilt by Ricky Tims|
Recently I had some time on my hands and a quilt show was in town. I decided to see if I could find some inspiration for a project I've been contemplating.
It is not my habit to carry much cash in my wallet because plastic usually takes care of me, so I was dismayed to learn at the entrance to the show that what cash I had was not enough to get me in and cash was the only thing they would accept. The lady at the ticket booth directed me to a cash machine just steps away.
I was displeased to have to resort to that since I knew the machine would charge me extra for making a withdrawal. But it was my best solution at the time, so I proceeded to follow the instructions on the screen. However, the machine was different from the one I use at my bank and I rather bumbled through the process. The outcome was no cash. It had the audacity to ask me if I wanted a receipt for the transaction (what transaction?); but I said "yes" just to be sure the machine and I were in agreement that absolutely nothing had transpired. Sure enough, the machine issued me a completely blank slip of paper.
I was feeling irritated and rushed because people were lining up behind me but told myself to not show it outwardly and I didn't. I still wanted to go to the quilt show, now just steps away from where I was standing. But to get in I would have to walk back to my car where other cars were circling around in search of a place to park (i.e. I would lose my good parking spot) and then drive about three miles to my bank to withdraw cash.
As I drove to the bank I prayed that the Lord would help me to buck up under this annoying but small delay and to just do what had to be done to accomplish my goal in a pleasant manner. I needed to pray because this circumstance made me feel very grumpy.
After I got back to the parking lot at the quilt show and was walking into the building, two women held the door open for me and then one of them handed me a card. I assumed it was for a discount on admission, so I smiled with gratitude and thanked her.
Without really looking at the card, I handed it to the admissions lady and waited for her to tell me how much my discounted entrance would cost. She said I could enter. No money was to be transacted. To my surprise and delight, the card was complimentary free admission!!
Yes, I could have been further irritated at that point, reasoning that the free admission would have been greatly appreciated earlier, before the trip to the bank. But instead I felt victory.
You see, all of life is filled with teachable moments and "pop quizzes" to determine if we are applying those lessons correctly. With the unexpected gift of free admission, I felt that the Lord was giving me a pat on the back for calling out to Him in the midst of my frustration.
The experience was a convergence, if you will, of the darkness of my irritation and the beauty of handling the matter with calmness. I hope I remember to ask the Lord for help the next time an inconvenience surprises me.