I was at Walmart today....
Yep, two days before Christmas. It was a madhouse, of course. But, everyone was polite. In fact, everyone pretty well knew what everyone else was going through. The last minute mad dash to make sure you have Christmas properly squared away. At one point, a woman and I were coming down an aisle from opposite directions. I don't know what my face looked like, but as we passed she laughed and said, "I know, baby. I know. It's almost over." We both laughed.
I was tired. Really tired. I only needed candy for the children's stockings, scotch tape, and a couple of presents for my third child. I got everything I needed as quickly as possible and dashed to the self-checkout.
I still had one last stop to go-- the grocery store. After that, it was home to unload groceries, then it would be time for me to go to work.
Did I mention I was tired?
I checked out and got to the door. I even got through the machines that are supposed to tell you if you've stolen anything. I was to the parking lot when it occurred to me I didn't remember putting the tape in a bag. That meant I didn't pay for it either. I looked into my cart. There it was, sitting nice and pretty underneath the bags...my stolen item worth $1.00.
I really wanted to get on with my day, but I couldn't. That $1.00 would bug me for the rest of my life. So, I turned around, told the door guard what I did and asked if I could just go back to pay for it. There were a couple of workers standing nearby. One of them looked at me like I was insane. Another put a hand on my shoulder and said, "You'll be blessed by heaven."
I smiled and went to pay for the tape.
When I got home, there was a bag of groceries sitting on my door. Not just a bag of groceries. A bag of Whole Foods groceries that contained everything I needed for an Italian Christmas Eve dinner. I'm Italian and haven't been able to afford the fish for Christmas Eve for many years. It was such a blessing.
Was that a blessing for my honesty? Maybe. And believe me, I valued that anonymous gift on my doorstep. The thoughtfulness, energy, and expense that went into such a gift was incredible. I can't wait to share it with my children.
But, I'm also grateful for the gift of a clear conscious. You see, if I'd have left Walmart, I would never have been at peace. A clear conscience is its own blessing.