There’s a lot of people I want to meet in heaven. Naturally, number one on the list is seeing Jesus face-to-face. But, I’d also like to meet some of the folks in the Bible like Moses, David, and Paul.
Although it’s down the list, I’d like to meet the first person who decided to manicure their lawn and say, “Hey, I’m on to something. Let’s see if the Jones’ can keep up.” I’d like to ask that person, “What in the world were you thinking?”
It’s no secret that I’m just not a fan of lawn maintenance. I do so begrudgingly.
One particular Saturday, I was outside mowing in the 90 degree-plus temperatures. It was being baked by the sun, sweating profusely, and extremely uncomfortable. There were a dozen other things I’d rather be doing.
As I continued, I heard behind me what sounded like a beep. For a moment, I wondered if, delirious from the heat, I had wandered off course and ended up in the street. I turned my head toward the sound to find a woman who had pulled up next to me in her car and stopped. I was intrigued and figured she wanted directions.
She rolled down her passenger window and invited me over. To my surprise, she handed me an extra-large, ice cold soft drink and said, “My husband attends your church quite often, but I attend elsewhere. I do enjoy the chance to come once in a while and watch online. I just saw you out here and wanted to bring you something to drink.” I’ve always preferred to be a giver and have a hard time accepting. I accepted the drink graciously and thanked her profusely. It was the highlight of my day.
Apparently, she drove by one time and saw me struggling in the heat, decided to drive back into town, get me a drink, and then come deliver it to me curbside. I was delighted and overwhelmed by her act of kindness and generosity. That day I was rehydrated by the drink and my faith in humanity was refreshed. I came inside bragging to my wife of this woman’s act of kindness.
The next morning at church, I was still thinking about it when I looked down at my hand and realized something was wrong. Although I had all my fingers, something was missing. It took only a brief moment to realize, “My ring was gone!” Rats—not again!
By “not again,” I mean, a couple of years ago, I hurt my ring finger and it swelled up. I really thought the swelling would go down in a day, but it didn’t. In fact, my finger got to the point where my ring was getting tight.
My wife took one look and was very concerned. “You better get that ring off,” she pleaded, “You could lose your finger!” I tried using every means to get it off. I used soap, olive oil, and even that dental floss trick I saw on YouTube to try and get it off—nothin’ doin. It was stuck. A friend of mine suggested going to the fire station—that they might be able to cut it off.
The folks at the fire station were extremely helpful and friendly. Glancing down at my hand, the firefighter said, “You need to get that ring off! “Yeah, that’s what my wife said, too” I responded. Thankfully, he was able to cut it off and the swelling in my finger went down in a couple of days.
At that time, I decided that maybe it was time to think about a different style of ring. I decided to try a Tungsten ring. I wanted something simple and dark. I sized my finger, ordered the ring, and got it in about a week. One minor problem. It was a little looser than the last one. I figured that maybe it was because of the swelling in my knuckle. I never dreamed it would come off, but there I was looking down at my ringless finger exclaiming, “Rats, not again!”
In addition to mowing the day before, I had put on garden gloves to pull weeds and rake leaves. After church I checked all the areas I had worked. No sign of the ring. My guess is that either it was laying in the yard—or it was in one of the eight or so garbage bags that went into the dumpster.
I was a little bummed, but decided to have some fun and put it out there on social media saying something like, “Wife number 1: going on ring number 3.” I got a lot of great, humorous comments back. But one friend wrote, “Hey, I have a metal detector and can bring it over.”
“What a great idea!” I thought. He came over and gave me the rundown on his metal detector. He was no amateur. He had the knowledge and the device and was a true pro. He said that with his detector he could tell the difference between a pop top and a penny. He could even tell how deep the object was. “If your ring is here,” he said, “this thing will find it.”
I was pretty excited, but explained to him that I did not have a clue of where it might be—or if it was even in the yard. But, I did point out the major areas where I had worked. He grabbed his detector, put on the headphones, and went to work.
As he searched, I had wonderful memories of my Uncle Don who had a metal detector back in the day. I was just a kid but loved to hang out with him and look for stuff. He even let me try it out. I hadn’t thought about that in years and the memories of my Uncle Don were pleasant.
Like a seasoned investigator, my friend kept looking, diligently scouring over every inch of the yard—several times. But, unfortunately, no ring. I explained to him that I probably lost it in one of the numerous trash bags that were taken to the dumpster already. It was gone.
He felt terrible for not being able to find it. I honestly just appreciated his deep kindness to even come over and try! I also enjoyed the fellowship and the trip down memory lane.
A couple of days later, he called to
say that he dropped an envelope by the house. Inside was a note that said how bad he felt for not being able to find the ring and a gift that he said he and his wife wanted me to have to help me get a new ring!
I was floored and called as soon as I could. I protested, “Seriously, you did all you could and I’m thankful that you even came over to try. I had a great time and enjoyed some wonderful memories of my uncle. I’m the one who lost the ring!” I protested. “I know,” he said, “but my wife and I just wanted to be able to bless you in this way.” I’m not often speechless, but I didn’t know what to say.
In surrender, I acknowledged, “That is so kind and I am so deeply appreciative.” I put the note on the refrigerator and ordered ring number 3—one half size smaller this time.
The new ring looks great and fits perfectly!
I prefer to be a giver and extend generosity to those around me as opportunity arises. But, sometimes, we need to be able to receive too. I love my new ring and whenever I look at it, I remember that wonderful day and the kindness and generosity of two people who recognized an opportunity to make a difference in this world. Kindness really does have a ring to it.
Dr. Wayne Geiger is the Pastor of First Baptist Grain Valley, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Speech, and freelance writer.