To say that yesterday was a bad day is the understatement of a lifetime.
It started with my bank account being hacked, all of my money was taken and somehow I ended up thousands of dollars in the hole.
That was bad enough. The phone calls I had to make to try and straighten things out were worse. So much waiting, so much frustration, so much of the worst of Ashlin put on display.
Finally, I decided to act like an adult and make some decisions. I decided to go and open a different account with another bank. I was going to stay calm, and move forward. Somehow, I was going to trust that it would all work out in the end.
Which was going okay until about ten minutes later when I managed to run over something and get a massive hole in my tire.
I kept telling myself to breathe, it wasn’t the end of the world.
So I called my dad, and that was pretty much all it took. I heard his voice through the phone, remembered he lives 267 miles away and instantly started sobbing like a child.
I was frustrated. I felt helpless. I was angry. I was poor. I was ready to give up entirely.
When that tire blew, so did everything inside of me. All the worries I’d been stewing in for the past several days came exploding out of me. I was exhausted. I just wanted to eat a milkshake, drive home to North Carolina, and cry to my parents.
But I can’t eat sugar, and had a blown tire (and responsibilities), so the first two things were out of the question.
So, I went with the only option I had… cry on the phone with my dad like the world was ending.
“I can’t even buy another tire because some terrible person stole all my money and put me in horrible debt. I don’t even have a dollar to my name!”
Of course, my parents told me they would help me and tried to calm me down. They were there, despite being hundreds of miles away. I wasn’t entirely alone. I acknowledged it and thanked God, but I was still distraught.
Friends came to my rescue. They changed my tire, loaned me tools, comforted me when I looked like a train wreck.
I kept reminding myself to be thankful. I wasn’t alone. There was goodness, even in my misery.
But even so, last night, I laid down and with the last bit of strength I had, I asked God for some kind of redemption. I told him that I needed some sort of hope that I wasn’t going to feel stranded and poor for the next 7-10 business days (don’t even get me started on my reaction to that). I needed to know there was something good that could come from all of this.
Today, I went to the bank to close my previously hacked bank account.
I was fired up, ready to defend my reasons, ready to tell them that I was greatly dissatisfied with their over-the-phone customer service.
But before I had the chance to really get rolling, I was put at the desk of a well-dressed man who had the kindest smile and the most patient disposition.
I wanted to tell him of all of my troubles and how I thought their way of doing business led to nothing but heaps of injustice. But I couldn’t.
I just waited patiently and responded politely to the questions he asked me. Where did I work? What was I in school for? What did I want to do longterm?
We joked. He told me I should be a lawyer, and I told him that he’s about the 90th person to say that. He asked about my job. I asked about his kids. And then, as He always does, God found His way into the conversation.
Before I knew it, this man, his wife and his kids had found a way into my heart. I suddenly wanted to know everything, to hear more details, I wanted to meet the rest of them. I wanted them experience a lifetime of joy.
I was floored. There I was, looking lazy with my sweatpants and insane hair (please ask me to demonstrate in person how it looked because it’s absolutely laughable). My clothes and hair conveyed apathy, my shoes cheap and falling apart. My eyes were showing my body’s exhaustion, but my heart was exploding. He was the one. He was the one I would meet because of it. The love I would get for this man and his family became the reason for it all.
The timing of it all had led me to this moment. If I had come at another day, another moment, another second, I could have been working with someone else entirely. If all of yesterday’s events had not played out the way they did, I would have probably ended up having a verbal sparring match with someone else in the bank and walking out whispering prayers of repentance.
But there I was, God hitting me straight in the gut, me being totally unprepared for it. I was instantly overwhelmed by the fact that I would do the whole thing over again.
I would go through that horrible day of weeping all over again to sit across from that man and feel the kind of love that God started drowning me with.
Yesterday I kept wondering why I was the one whose money was stolen. Why was I the one with the worst bank ever? Why I was the one sitting on the side of the road sobbing? Why me?
And today I realized that it was because I was the one whom God was preparing to meet the one: the one who needed to be loved, heard and whose family might need a few extra prayers.
Sometimes, we’re privileged to have what I’m terming a great exchange. My bad day for someone else’s good one. My present frustration for someone else’s future joy.
Sometimes, it’s just not about me. I’ve got to get that through my thick head.
Because that’s the kind of thing I’ve asked God for. I’ve asked Him over and over again to teach me how to love. Therefore, the thing He often teaches me is sacrifice. And I’m learning that I don’t want to offer God or other people something that doesn’t cost me anything.
The opportunity to love that family, to hear that man out, to be deeply challenged by the things he said, cost me some things. The price was my temporary sanity, my tire, hours of my life, my pride, my selfish desire to yell at everyone inside the bank.
I had to lay down my needs, my rights, everything I felt was owed to me. It was then that God made my heart soften so that the needs of the one in front of me became far more important to me than my own.