It is said you reap what you sow. I thought I had been doing a reasonably good job of sowing seeds of kindness and generosity so why was I reaping the week from hell? I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with my seeds. Perhaps I planted a package of genetically modified (GMO) seeds—mutated with expectation. When will I learn to just plant the damn seeds and let them grow at their own pace?
The week started out okay. I sowed a few cranky seeds as my son and I got a late start to the Seahawks tailgate, but once we got there, we shared our food with friends and a few homeless visitors and we were rewarded with a fantastic Seahawks win. Golf the next day with my boy was also a joyous reaping, but that’s where it ended.
Hell week started with work. My last project of the year morphed from a simple online enrollment of fifty people to an antiquated paper project taking much more time and effort for both me and my clients. We were all unhappy as we reaped the obvious result of a bad seed—what had we done to deserve this?
By midweek, that news seemed tame when I found out I had two more tumors in my bladder. They’re small and don’t pose a significant threat, but surgery is required—and two weeks of feeling under the weather is more than I wanted to waste. I’ve never been good at resting.
If that wasn’t enough, I dropped my wallet on Capitol Hill as I rushed to meet a client at Starbucks. I assumed it was in my car, so I paid for my tea with loose cash and chatted with a woman who bought her first policy from me to cover the birth of her son. He’s now twenty-one, so after all these years, this client feels more like a friend. On the bright side, I reaped the good vibrations of our conversation, but on the not-so-bright side, my wallet was lying on the sidewalk waiting to be picked up by someone who would likely find my credit cards very handy at this time of year.
As I begrudged my unfortunate circumstances, my father’s words came to mind. This, too, shall pass. That’s true, but maybe that wasn’t the answer. Maybe I needed to look at these things and find out why they were placed in front of me. And, as I pondered each situation, I got my answer.
The extra work required with my clients has given me an opportunity to meet with people I rarely, if ever, see. I feel a sense of accomplishment as well as a feeling of camaraderie with some really wonderful individuals I might never have met in person.
On the surface, the tumors didn’t seem to have a redeeming value. But, maybe I need a rest and this will force me to lie low for a week or two. Or, maybe I need to value my health and make sure I take good care of the rest of me.
And, the lost wallet—I must have sown some wonderful seeds because on Saturday morning my front doorbell rang. I reluctantly turned the knob and opened the door to a man, who introduced himself as Dale, who stood looking at me through the screen door holding my wallet. He had driven fifteen miles to return it—there wasn’t a phone number, he said, so he drove it to my door. I offered a small reward for his honesty, but he wouldn’t take it. He told me the smile on my face was reward enough. Then he told me that people had been there for him when he needed help and now he was paying it forward. The peace of mind of knowing my identity would be safe for another day was a wonderful gift, but not nearly as wonderful as knowing there are still good, honest people in the world. I think I was in shock—I must have said Thank You twenty times, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t get his last name or his phone number and as I write this I am sad that I will never see this man again, the man who restored my faith in humanity. Maybe he will remember my name and find this blog in a google search. I hope so.
If you’re reading this, Dale, here’s one more Thank You. And, I promise I’ll pay it forward!