Thursday, December 10, 2015

Barnes and Noble

This afternoon was Christmas shopping, so after mass, a breakfast meeting, and cleaning the house before the cleaning lady arrived, I set out.
The first store I stopped at was a hit, and I found a number of things on my list --- and they gift wrapped!  I lugged the packages over to the gift-wrap area, and told them I KNEW they would pick the perfect wrappings, and so I set out again.  I didn’t get out of that area, however, before something else caught my eye, and so shortly after I was back at the gift wrap window again:  “Add this to the other stuff,” I said, and took off again, because they said it’d take at least 20 minutes to wrap the things. 
The next store wasn’t far away, and I found another item I liked, and so I drifted back to the first store and said: “Add this one to my wrap pile too.”  But they wouldn’t wrap something from another store.  Rats!  Oh well, I went on, and then on, and then on, and the bags were getting heavy so I finally headed back to the first store and the gift wrap area.  When the lady handed me the first bag she said: “Be careful; this one’s a bit heavy.”  Then I reached up for the bag with my hand, which was holding about a half dozen other bags already.  “Oh,” she said.  “I guess you’re not worried about carrying a little weight.”  I looked down at my waist, and then back up at her, and she started to be a bit flummoxed, but then I laughed, and so did she.
I bought many items I wanted at the mall, and fought off many sales pitches for stuff I didn’t want.  Some of the sales pitches were in my face, and some more subtle, but you’re intended to get the message.  My next stop was the Barnes and Noble store, where I thought I might find some things I wanted.  I couldn’t see what I was looking for, but then I noticed a set of bookcases off in a separate area of the store, and thought to check them out.  It was the Christian books and Bibles section --- located in the middle of the children’s toy department.  Remember I mentioned about stores trying to send a subtle message?  Well I got that one, and I hope Barnes and Noble got mine, as I walked out of the store without buying anything.
My last stop of the day was the grocery store, where I had to get some eggnog for the Caregiver’s Support Group Meeting tonight.  But when I went to pay for my purchases, my credit card was declined.  The young lady behind the register seemed embarrassed to tell me.  I laughed.  “Well, I guess the bank figures I’ve done enough Christmas shopping for today.”
Some people keep detailed lists, do budgets, and figure things out in detail.  I’m not rich, but I do trust in God, and I spend what I think is appropriate for what I think the appropriate reasons, and then trust in God.  I don’t balance my checkbook.  I don’t pay too much attention to my credit cards.  And the bank watches over me if they think I’m spending too much (or, in truth, they suspect the unusual activity may be the result of a stolen card.)
Fortunately, I had another card to pay for my purchases, and as I expected my phone rang as I was unloading the groceries into my car.  “You had your credit card denied just now.”  “Yup,” I said.   That was me.  And then she proceeded to read off a litany of stores I had attended that day, and I described my Christmas purchase adventures at each one.  And we both laughed, and wished each other a Merry Christmas. 
I said I trust God to watch out for me.  Sometimes He uses a bank.  And I think He led me out of the Barnes and Noble store, so I could do my grocery shopping, waiting to have my credit card bounce there, so that I could purchase the few little things for the group tonight.  That was a good thing, and God always seems to make sure I am able to do the good things.  He’s like that.  Maybe that’s part of the reason we celebrate His birthday.  ----- But wait a minute.  You don’t think He’s watching out for me, being a good Guy, in hopes of some special birthday present from me, do you?? 

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