1)Christmas can still be joyful, even if the Christmas candy doesn’t get made until New Years
2)When a son is ready to soar – there’s peace in this mama’s heart when the plane leaves at 6 a.m. Christmas Even morning to take him to the west coast –
3)Saucy little 13-year-olds laugh when they get coal in their stocking for not believing in Santa.
4)I also learned ethical opportunities can be found skipping across a parking lot:
Monday before Christmas, phone to my ear talking to my mom, I hauled myself out of the van, lunch and all to see a dollar bill skipping across the mostly holiday-empty parking lot.
Frustrated, I could see myself head to the ground, unsweet tea all over the place, gracelessness every I tried to regain the dollar – was it the one I had in my hand when I ordered the unsweet tea? Something inside me wouldn’t let me give up.
Still talking to my mom, I gained on that greenback as it flirted away from me – looking more like a 5 than a 1. The pursuit turned more serious, less whiny feeling.
When I finally captured the bill, it wasn’t George or Lincoln starring back at me. It was Benjamin Franklin – with his “Well, what are you going to do with me” look.
When I taught college composition, we talked about Franklin and his 13 Virtues – and we’d talk about what we’d do if we ever found Franklin lying on the ground in front, of, say Wal-Mart. Not a one of the students would have turned him in. They would have picked him up, put him in their car – and left.
“The management will just keep it,” they said.
My husband mom’s advise? “Don’t tell them how much!”
I chased down a few leads, like who I’d seen walking in before me, call my supervisor to let them know I’d found some money, call security and alerted them – never telling them the amount. They didn’t know I had Franklin stuffed away in my purse. For all they knew, it was George, or Lincoln or even Jackson.
It burned a hole, zipped up tight in my billfold. Over the next 24 hours, while I finished up some Christmas shopping – it kept whispering from the confines of my black and white striped purse, “What are you going to do with me?”
I didn’t know – so I asked God, “What do you want me to do with this? Who needs it? I want to use it for you.”
And I waited.
I couldn’t let down all those college students who would have just walked away with no chance of ethical liberation– not when I’d encouraged them to find the owner.
Around 10 a.m. the next day, Christmas Eve – I received a message, from a friend at work asking if I had found Franklin – because someone had lost him.
I contacted Franklin’s owner. Not wanting to leave money from a fundraising for a non-profit in her car during work, she took it in – and wiley Franklin ever the freedom-advocate fell out. She didn’t realize it until that night when she was counting and reconciling it to collection records.
The money was going to help others with electric bills and food for Christmas, she said.
I thought that was pretty perfect – that $100 was being spent on just what I had talked to God about – helping others.
I learned in December that ethics always work out to the good of those who live by them – and that God encourages us to chase dollar bills across parking lots no matter how silly it looks – and that when we wait for Him to tell us what to do – it works out perfectly.
Franklin got exactly what he deserved.