“Buy it for yourself,” she said.
I looked into her dark brown eyes and wondered if a ten year old girl with no mortgage to pay, groceries to worry about or a vehicle to maintain could really understand the value of a dollar.
“I am sure I can’t afford it, and I only put it on to see what it looked like. Not to buy it.”
It sure felt nice with the coolness of the silver chain encircling my wrist and the light catching the pink and white stones to make it glitter.
I had entered the store in my usual way telling myself at the door that I couldn’t purchase anything. I had to be sure that both girls had clothes to wear and food on the table. How I had found myself gazing into the jewelry cases was beyond me. Obviously, it was a moment of weakness that I shouldn’t have let myself indulge in.
“Ask the lady how much,” she persisted.
We were talking in low whispers at this point. I had gone from looking to now wearing the item that had called my name from the display.
The salesperson was standing inches away marking items. Without much enthusiasm, I said,
“Could you tell me how much this is?”
I really didn’t want to know because the minute she spoke, I knew I was going to take it off and the magical moment would be over. There is nothing more frustrating to want something and then have to put it back and walk away. I was mentally beating myself up over it. I should have not touched it at all.
“Let’s see,” she said pulling out the box. She looked at the tag.
“That doesn’t seem right to me. Hold on a minute. Let me double check.”
I had this awful feeling creeping into my stomach that I was going to hand it back to her.
She returned with her glasses perched on the end of her nose. She began punching numbers into her calculator. She pulled out an ad and did more button pushing.
“Okay. Well, it is $50. It says it retails for about $150, but we have a sale going on right now. Wow, that is a really good deal for that. Those are real crystals.”
I glanced down at my daughter who was speaking to me sternly non-verbally. I felt the guilt of paying the money as I stood there admiring the piece.
I fought down the negative feelings and decided to get it anyway because it had been so long since I had gotten anything for myself. The divorce had left me thinking that I had to make sure I spent every bit of money on the kids to be sure they were taken care of.
The woman grabbed the long white box and we followed her to the register. She began the process of entering in the item along with the discounts she had mentioned. In the middle of it, she leaned into look closer at the screen on her register.
“You aren’t going to believe this,” she said.
Oh, no. Here comes the bad news. She probably had done her math wrong, I thought.
“It rang up at $29.00. I have gone over all my numbers and it keeps coming up as that. I will do it one more time just to be sure.”
After a few moments, she said,
“You need to go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket because today is your lucky day. It keeps coming up at $29, so that must be the price.”
I handed over my debit card inwardly thanking God that I could keep the bracelet on for an even cheaper price.
After the transaction was done, she said again,
“Really, go buy that lottery ticket!”
That was ten years ago. I have worn it off and on over the years with many compliments. Last week, it broke. I was sitting at an outdoor picnic table, lifted my wrist and the heart fell to the ground leaving the chain around my arm.
With much disappointment, I put it in my purse. A few days later, I drove to a jeweler by my house to see if it could be fixed.
While I was parking my car in the lot, I found myself thinking again about money. Much in the same way that I had been when I bought the bracelet. I wondered how much it would cost, and would I be able to afford it. This then led to other thoughts about upcoming bills, health insurance payments and a host of things that rushed to the forefront of my thinking. By the time I walked in the front door, I felt somewhat burdened mentally.
I approached the counter and a woman with silver hair and large black glasses greeted me. I took the two pieces out of my purse and laid them on the counter. I explained what had happened as she examined it.
She jotted down information on an envelope. A repetitive sound started coming from a back room.
“I am sorry,” she said. “Do you mind if I run back there for a second? I have an alarm going off on my phone.”
“That’s okay,” I replied.
When she returned, she said,
“I have to take medication four times a day since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I can’t remember to take it all the time, so I set my alarm to remind me.”
Suddenly, my small worries about finances didn’t seem so great.
“How are you doing now?” I asked.
Her complexion was beaming and her smile was so bright. Her eyes looked energetic, and I would have never guessed she had been through such a medical trauma.
“I feel really good. God loves me, and He has helped me through it all.”
I took her hand and said,
“I am so glad to meet you. You look so healthy. I would have never known you had been sick. You look great.”
She squeezed my hand.
“I am seventy years old, and I have had a really good life. If I had not made it through, I kept telling my family I was okay with going on to heaven. But, I am still here. And, I feel His love for me even more. You cannot worry about things. You know that scripture that says He feeds the birds of the air, and we shouldn’t worry about what we are to eat and drink? The one where He says don’t worry about tomorrow? That’s my scripture verse. He is in charge of everything, and He loves us so much.”
She finished writing out my order and said,
“This will only be about $10 to fix. I will do the job myself and make sure it is done perfectly.”
Before I left, I took her hand again, and I prayed for her body to be completely whole and healthy from head to toe. I felt as if we had blessed each other in a way that only can happen when there is divine intervention.
My previous anxiety about my budget had left. I got into the car with a renewed strength that all was well. Even though I have had many experiences where I know my prayers have been answered, I still have moments where I need reassurance that I have a support system working on my behalf that I cannot see. Her words of faith were just what I needed to remind me that I am not alone.
I got my bracelet back the other day looking as good as the day I bought it. As I took in her handiwork, I realized that when one little loop of metal was missing, it upset my ability to wear it and enjoy it.
Isn’t that just like allowing God into your life? He really is what keeps it all together whether we acknowledge it or not. A relationship with your Heavenly Father will make things go a lot smoother if you are struggling. Give heaven a chance to assist you in all things. Prayer really is the missing link.