God's unconditional love for all creatures included this pet owner.
- Posted on Jan 31, 2018
The pet shop wasn’t my usual destination on a lunch-hour break, but I was out of food for Izzy and Tobie. I pushed my cart through the aisles, wondering how I’d make ends meet this month. Their food wasn’t cheap. Izzy needed a special brand of dog food because of her skin allergy. Tobie got Science Diet for older cats. I’d settle for a sandwich again for dinner tonight, but I didn’t want the animals I loved to suffer because of my problems.
Boy, did I have problems. Money worries whirled around my head as I walked past the bubbling fish tanks. In the past few months I’d been hit with one expense after another. My hot water heater had to be repaired, the air conditioner replaced. Then I came home from a walk with Izzy to find a geyser shooting out of the toilet! A tree root had burst through a sewer pipe on my property, so I had to pay for a new line. My bank account had never seen such hardship. Through it all, Izzy and Tobie seemed to look at me as if they secretly knew we would be okay.
I heaved up a bag of dog food and dropped it into my cart. Maybe I’ll take Izzy for an extra long walk tonight, I thought. Take my mind off things. I moved on to the cat food, grabbed the smallest bag of Tobie’s food I could find and looked at the price tag. Uh-oh. My pet-shop card would get me a dollar discount, but that would leave me about ninety-nine cents short—before taxes. What do I do?
I was always asking that question these days. I’d tried to be responsible. I worked hard. Didn’t live beyond my means. I’d always trusted that things would work out okay. So much for that theory.
“Your pets trust you to provide the best for them...” The ad on the loudspeaker had caught my attention. Izzy and Tobie trusted me to provide. What would happen if I showed the same kind of trust?
On impulse, I dropped the cat food into my cart. Then I did something weird. Really weird. I walked toward the register. What am I doing? I thought. I didn’t have enough money to pay. I kept walking. It might have been the biggest leap of faith I’d ever taken, but what did I have to lose?
Maybe I did the math wrong, I told myself, my legs trembling as I reached the checkout line. Yeah, right. Or maybe money will fall from the sky when I put my items on the counter. I fidgeted as I waited.
My turn. I put the two bags of food on the counter and watched the cashier ring them up. She scanned Tobie’s first, then Izzy’s. Yep, I’d done the math correctly. I hung my head. “I don’t have it.”
“Ooh!” the cashier said. Shouted, really. She sounded like a contestant on The Price Is Right. Was she going to call the manager?
She popped open the register drawer and rummaged around in it. Her whole head was nearly shoved inside the drawer while she mumbled to herself. “I know it’s in here... it’s somewhere... she jusssst left... Ah!”
The cashier sprang back up with a goofy grin on her face, and I took a step back. She waved a slip of paper in her hand like it was a winning lottery ticket. “I knew it! I knew I had it! Here it is!” I stared at the mysterious find, confused.
The cashier leaned forward over the counter into my face as if the two of us were about to share the world’s best secret. “A lady was in here just before you with a stack of coupons. She didn’t need this one.” She waved the paper again. “She wanted to leave it for someone who could use it!” She studied the coupon, reading all the fine print, and nodded. She lifted up Izzy’s bag of dog food. “It’s for this exact same brand and the exact same size bag.”
“How much off?” I asked, hardly daring to believe it would be enough to matter.
“Ten bucks!” she said. “How great is that?”
As great as God’s love for every one of his creatures, which of course includes me.
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