The Debt

They say that God doesn’t ask us for more than we can bear. I hope that’s true because I have one coming due and it’s bound to be a whopper.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that I had misplaced some of my best jewelry — for the third time. This isn’t stuff I buy for myself. My husband has been slowly filling my coffer over the course of fifteen birthdays, anniversaries and Valentines Days and every time I lose a piece, we go through this cycle where I get stressed, he goes into a panic because I won’t tell him what’s wrong until I finally break down. He’s always relieved because in the back of his mind he’s been thinking there’s some pending disaster — jewelry can always be replaced — but I know that deep down he’s disappointed because some commemorative ornament is gone forever.

For days on end, I’ve been slowly tearing the house apart making myself sicker and sicker — to the point where I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I’ve ground Lord knows how much enamel off my teeth and there’s not enough Zantac in the entire county to hold my stomach pains down to a dull roar.

When I got up this morning, I knew today was the day I was going to have to come clean and the first words out of my mouth as my feet hit the floor were “God, help me”. Not the sort of “God, help me” that you utter without thinking about it. This was the serious kind of “God, help me” that’s best repeated down on your knees with your Bible clutched to your heart and a good, healthy “Amen” at the end.

I decided to work up my courage as I got a few chores out of the way. Being that it’s Superbowl Sunday, that included making a big pot of chili to take down to the neighbors when we go to watch the game. A few of my spice tins needed a refill so I hit the pantry where I keep the overflow of bulk spices I buy on the Internet.

I grab the box off the shelf, look inside and see a smaller box that isn’t supposed to be there. The small jewelry box that my Christmas present was wrapped in. The box I had taken with me when we spent the night in Boston to see The Nutcracker. The box I had thrown in there to cart it upstairs along with my latest spice order I hadn’t put away yet. The box that didn’t quite make it all the way to the bedroom safe — presumably because of some minor distraction. The box with the earrings Tom gave me for our first Christmas, the tennis bracelet he gave me for our fifth anniversary and the ring he gave me for my fiftieth birthday.

I don’t believe in coincidence. I’m in awe when I think about the fact that what I was searching for was the courage to tell the truth, but God went beyond that and changed the truth for me instead. As I sit and wonder what my bill will be, I’m confident that paying up won’t be nearly as difficult as what I’ve just gone through. If I happen to be wrong, there’s always another “God, help me” waiting to be said.