Friday, June 18, 2004

The Dollar in the Locker

I went to the gym to day to swim. (No big deal.) But today, something different happened. When I opened up the locker, there was a dollar bill at the bottom.

I looked at it for a minute, and the wheels began turning. Should I take it to the front desk, and turn it in? But who would come back to claim a lost dollar? And someone working at the desk would probably just take it. Should I just keep it? I put my shoes on it without having touched it, and proceeded to get ready to swim. Plenty of time to consider the possibilities while doing laps in the pool.

After the workout, when I came back to the locker, it was time to make a decision. Keep it? Turn it in? I realized that I was struggling between honesty and greed – over a dollar bill! It wasn’t that I was concerned that the folks at the front desk would think I was weird if I turned it in. Maybe I should just keep it, and add it to the envelope I carry (with the other one dollar bills I receive) to have something to give to the panhandlers on the street corners. As I finished dressing, and picked up my shoes, revealing the dollar bill once more, I remember thinking, “It’s not worth my soul to take the dollar.” I would turn it in for the “Lost and Found” people to deal with.

On my way out of the locker room, I happened to look closely at the bill for the first time. It had something stamped on it in red ink. I couldn’t make out all that it said; and turned the bill over, face up. The same message was stamped there, clearly enough to be read: “See where I’ve been; Track where I go;”

So, it hadn’t been lost: it had been left! I came home, went to the web site, reported the find; and now the bill is in the envelope I carry to have something to give to someone who asks for some help. It will be interesting to follow the journey of the bill. It was also a relief to find that I could resolve the “dilemma” that shouldn’t have been a dilemma at all; and that greed can be defeated, if we are willing to honestly be who we are called to be – children of God.