"Think of it this way," my friend said. "My dumbness has hurt lots of people. If God can use my dumbness to make someone feel happy, I think that would be a great thing."
It happened on Christmas's eve's eve. I had declared the day The Day of Marilyn. I told my men that I needed a quiet day. A day of peace and thought to still my soul before all the Christmas hullabuloo. So when the day started I prayed. I prayed that God would show me how to use my day. That God would unfold what might be good for my soul.
I began by driving to my office to finish up a small project. When I got there I was surprised by an e-message from a friend - and on it was a piece of scripture. I printed it off and stuck it to the front of my car so I could read it now and then during the day.
Second, I mailed a box to my kid in Indonesia and then thought to call a dear friend and have a light lunch together. I had been promising her forever, and I love to be with her. She was delighted and we chose simply - Appleby's soup and salad combo.
Lunch was average. The service was non-descript. When the bill came, a mere $17 something. I said I would pay. I pulled a twenty out of my purse and then added four ones. I thought, this is Christmas. I will be generous. How generous I am!
The waitress came back with the folder and change and I said to her, "Oh no, I don't need change. It is for you. Merry Christmas." Silly me. The waitress said, "Really?" I said, "Of course. It is for you. Enjoy." Enjoy your $6.82.
She picked up the folder and held it to her breast. "Thank you!" she said. "This has never happened to me before. Thankyou!" I felt confused, and started getting that sick kind of feeling in my belly. Hmmmm.
I didn't want to say anything much to my friend so I just kept on conversing. The waitress came back and knelt by our table. She said, "Really, I want to thank you. You don't know what this means to me. It has never happened to me. I can really use it."
[This was clearly not the time to say, "Could I just check that change again?"]
I knew now that I had put something in the cash that I was unaware of. I was desperately trying to figure it out while smiling and looking calm and cheerful. I didn't know what to say, and what I said was kind of dumb. "Apparently God loves you." I smiled. Apparently.
After I took my friend home I looked at my cash and found that I had given a twenty and three ones and a hundred dollar bill. It was my grocery money. I looked out the window at the brown grimy snow. It had been a kind of 'forced generosity." Sitting buckled into my car, engine running, my purse spilled onto my lap, I started laughing. And i phoned a friend to tell her the story.
"If I knew that God had wanted me to do this," I said, "I would feel better. But I think it was just me being dumb." That was when my friend said the brilliant thing I needed to hear. "My dumbness has hurt lots of people. If God used my dumbness to make someone feel happy, I think that would be a great thing." Touche.