Saturday, October 08, 2011

Take Nothing for Granted

This past week I had the annual "yikes, it's time to get my car license plate sticker!" moment. I used to buy two years at a time, but the car is now so old I would prefer three month increments.

The young woman in front of me in line went to the wicket and asked what it would cost her. She paused for a moment, then offered her debit card. The clerk noticed that her vehicle also needed an emissions test and the woman's face fell. How much will that be she wondered? Just $35 was the answer. This was no consolation. There was no "just" about it. The young woman said tearfully "I'm going to have to choose between groceries and the test. Why do they make it so hard for people on welfare?" She hurried out in tears. The clerk had not been unkind but at that moment life was cruel for the woman.

I felt badly for her and if it had been a matter of simply paying in the moment I would have offered her help. I could tell that her distress was real. I told my wife Ruth the story at supper and her response that this could have been one of dozens of clients who call her and meet with her as an outreach worker. She reminded me that not only do many people live from assistance cheque or support cheque to cheque, they "rob Peter to pay Paul" in a constant, desperate attempt to stay afloat.

I discovered that I too needed an emission check. I drove down the street, dropped off the car for a while, and shortly thereafter I paid up. No worries about where the money will come from or if I can afford it.

I am still unsettled by the drama that unfolded before me and I carry this simple blessing of relative financial security into Thanksgiving weekend. I can take nothing for granted and my gratitude to God needs to issue in compassion and generosity.

Any thoughts about Thanksgiving as we enter into the weekend?

3 comments:

Nancy said...

Gorgeous weather, and so many gifts to be thankful for. We will be pausing as a family to say thanks for the many blessings we have. Spending time with family is our top priority.
This week our 11 year old saw a similar thing happen with a classmate. The classmate owed $10.00, and when she asked her parents for it, was told "we have no money until Thursday, payday". Our daughter is learning that others are not as well off, and that she needs to consider this when making plans with friends. Life lessons, but a reminder not to take anything for granted.

johnny said...

I often think about the fact that what we have can be taken away - and that extends not only to money, but health. I try to take nothing for granted.

IanD said...

Sobering.