About two years ago, the neighbor that hates me invited me to an upcoming jewelry party. Every time this neighbor walks up to our fence to make small talk I get knots in my stomach. It never feels small. I know she isn’t entirely fond of us being her neighbors, so even the smallest talk feels very, very heavy.
A jewelry party, you say? I supposed an appearance and a small order might help the neighborly relations a bit; so on the day of the party, Sherri, my ‘chipped-mug’ friend, accompanied me for moral support (just like any good girl friend would join you, say, to a public restroom). (Clearly the ‘chipped-mug’ description deserves an explanation. You’re right. Stay tuned.)
While I wasn’t in a financial position to indulge myself in jewelry, I did notice a cute pair of earrings that Sherri would look great in. I snuck away and explained to the jeweler that I needed to be discreet about this purchase because the recipient of the gift was attending the party. And that evening as we both walked back to my house, I couldn’t hold on to my wonderful secret for one more second. Immediately I confessed that my purchase was, in fact, for her. We have a beautiful friendship. She then confessed the very same thing! It wasn’t until a few weeks later when Sherri told me that her order came in the mail that I realized I was still waiting for mine. So I waited and waited. Nothing. Finally I got ahold of the jeweler and explained that perhaps the earrings were lost in the mail. It seemed that everyone had their jewelry but me. She graciously arranged for the jewelry company to send me a replacement pair and I got them with plenty of time to gift them for Christmas.
Now keep that in the back of your mind while I remind you of the story of David and Bathsheba. King David had hundreds of wives and concubines. He should have been satisfied (or extremely overwhelmed), right? No, sir. Once he spotted Bathsheba he just had to have her. Nevermind that she was married. King David just ordered her husband up to the frontlines of battle to ensure his death. Sneaky. Since Bathsheba’s husband was dead, it didn’t seem unusual for King David to take her as one more wife for himself. And while everything might have seemed easy-breezy from the outside, on the inside David was guilty of murder.
One thing you should know about me is that I’ve got thousands of dollars worth of high fashion jewelry (not the real stuff, but the less expensive, fun stuff). This jewelry wasn’t purchased; it was earned by hosting jewelry parties myself for the last 6 years.
Well, the other day Brian handed me a small, mangled manila package. He said he found it in his tool box in the garage. Ripping into it, I discovered the original, missing earrings.
And I wanted them.
Oh, how I wanted them. In that moment a small part of me understood King David. It wasn’t enough that I had it all. THESE were the earrings that I really needed to be completely satisfied. But as I considered my life with these new earrings I realized that I couldn’t wear them around Sherri or she’d be suspicious. And I couldn’t wear them at the salon because my neighbor might show up for an appointment. (You do realize that I have very few hours left in the day when I subtract the ones with Sherri and the ones at the salon.) So I’d have to secretly enjoy these earrings around the house, only when I’m with Brian, or when I’m out of the state. You see, I have a very guilty conscience. I knew I didn’t pay for 2 pairs of earrings. But, oh, I wanted them. And I wanted them for free.
The sneaky feeling was slimy and unsettling, so I called Sherri for some objective wisdom. “Give her back the earrings,” she said. I slumped. I knew she’d say that. I didn’t want to be like King David, selfish and unsatisfied, willing to compromise my obedient love for the Lord in exchange for my own greed.
Just this afternoon with earrings in hand I found the jeweler’s house and rang the door bell. No answer. I knocked on the door. No answer. I rang the door bell again. Finally an answer. The jeweler’s husband opened the door, and, no, his wife was not home. So I asked him, “If I told you a story would you be able to remember it and tell your wife?” Then I recounted how 2 years ago my husband ordered a few things online; and what he assumed was a memory card for a digital recorder were actually these earrings. They have been residing in his tool box all along. This sweet man – with a sweet smile and 2 sweet dogs sniffing my feet – went on and on about how loving and giving his wife is; then he looked me in the eyes and said, “Merry Christmas.”*sigh* I practically skipped home. Now I have one more pair of earrings and none of the guilt.
Did I mention how much I love Christmas?