Despite the smoky skies from the North Carolina wildfires in the mountains three hours away, I went for a walk. My cold is still here, but I feel much better today. Anyway, I walked a couple of miles to Panera for my free bagel. (For some reason, I have been selected to receive a free bagel every day this month. I have only missed one day...)
I ate my bagel, and then realized rather than have to drive the car anywhere today, I could do the one errand I had to do while walking-- buy two oranges for my dinner recipe. I walked to Fresh Market, just a block away from Panera, picked out two big, luscious oranges, and then realized I had not brought my wallet. All I had in my belt pack (which I wear for long walks) was three dollars.
Handing the cashier the two oranges, I asked, "These will not cost more than three dollars, will they?"
Meanwhile, the lady in front of me asked the cashier for change for a $20 bill.
"I can't do that," said the cashier, "Not when my drawer isn't open."
The lady put away her money, with a troubled look on her face.
The cashier took my oranges and rang them up on her register. They came to $3.26.
"You'll have to take one away," I told her. "All I have is three dollars."
Instantly, the cashier said, "Oh no! I will pay the $.26 ". Simultaneously the woman behind me said the same thing. The cashier was the quicker of the two, took my $3, added her $.26, and the drawer popped open.
"Now may I have change for my $20?" the woman in front of me asked joyfully.
"Sure," the cashier said, smiling.
As the cashier handed me my oranges and I thanked her profusely, she pulled out a $10 bill from her pocket. "The lady in front of you all heard me telling someone that I had just lost $10. She reached into her pocketbook and pulled out $10 and handed it to me. She told me she wanted me to have it."
I looked around me at the woman who was happily putting away her change for the $20, the cashier beaming and putting the $10 inside her bra so she wouldn't lose it, and me with my two oranges.
"Blessings all around!" said the lady behind me.
"Except for you," I said, laughing.
"Oh for me too," she said, "I'm not out $.26!"
The quartet of women all grinned at each other.
"What a beautiful example of paying it forward all around me," I said, "In your honor, I am going to go bless somebody today."
This is how God created the world to behave, I thought as I headed home.
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.