Monday, May 25, 2009

Cosmic reinforcements

I had had it! No more volunteer work for me. I was always taking the initiative to get people involved in something or the other, but at the end, I'd wind up having to see things through myself. My latest episode had been requesting book donations from my coworkers for the Prison Book Program. After waiting for a few months for a less than spectacular turnout, I'd accumulated two large cartons of books that I'd have to mail to the PBP's headquarters.

I'd had someone help me carry the cartons from the office to my car after I got off work, but I had no idea how I was going to grapple with them by myself at the post office. The post office always had a huge line that moved very slowly, and I had no one to help me carry those heavy cartons. I didn't know how I was going to manage things as I pulled up to the post office. I was grumbling to myself and promising God that I'd never go out of my way to do something good again. Nobody cared. I don't know why I even bothered when I never made a difference.

I popped open my trunk outside the post office. As I lifted the trunk top, a large gentle-looking young white man walked around the back of the truck parked next to me. I had seen him exiting the post office as I'd pulled in but hadn't paid him any real attention. He startled me by happily offering to carry the cartons inside for me. Just like that, without my even asking. I hadn't even had the time to sigh and shake my head at the cartons.

"Ohmygod, yes, thank you, thank you!" I squealed, and he scooped up both cartons into his arms like wriggly toddlers. I couldn't help the skip in my step as I thanked him all the way inside the post office.

I almost fell down out of shock when I saw that there were no customers inside the post office. That was a miracle. I had been to that post office many, many times at that specific time of the day, and there were always at least five people, if not more, in front of me. On a good day I could spend twenty minutes before my turn came up. Once I'd even waited for a whole hour in a sluggish line.

My benefactor marched up to a counter and deposited the cartons in front of the official there. I thanked him again, but he simply smiled and walked away. The official, strangely enthusiastic because of the unusually slow day he'd been having, had me taken care of and walk out of there in two minutes flat, a personal record at that particular post office. I couldn't believe how insane the whole experience had been as I slid into the driver's seat of my car and drove home. I guess I mattered enough for the universe to realign itself to help me do good.

That was the first time I'd seen no customers at that post office. It never happened again.

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