Kneeling at the altar, I heard the ‘still, small voice’ (SSV) of God, prompt “Hold on to Me.” And I agreed to hold on and it has been an ‘e-ride’ (the best of rides) ever since. It has been a journey beyond my imagination. I learned to hold on to God in the ups and downs of daily life and unanticipated challenges. I held on though nauseated, head throbbing, want to lay down and die mountain-sickness while training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Subsequently on the journey to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet), the highest free standing mountain in the world, I held on to God and His words to me when in mountain thin air, “When you summit, I will be there.” This climb was an e-ride extraordinaire. Another time I held on through 13 days of listening and following that brought me face-to-face with my daughter after years of separation. I have learned to hold on to God for guidance, comfort, forgiveness, salvation, and daily dialogue. God has become my most important relationship.
I also hold on to memories, treasures, and symbols of loved ones. I hold on to the claw foot oak deacons bench that reminds me of my dad and his coal and oil business. I hold on to the tall mahogany carved desk that reminds me of Grandma Hallquist and my mom sitting at the same desk writing letters and posting oil deliveries for my dad’s business.
I hold on to papers, stories I have written, files of handouts I have created for workshops, boxes of teaching materials…just in case I need them at a future time. I hold on to people I love in a mutual way of giving and receiving. In my heart and imagination I hold on to hopes, dreams, and especially words I believe God has spoken to me.
A typical woman, I hold on to my purse every day. In my purse I have a little black mesh zipper coin purse. It holds merchandise credit slips and gift cards for Chico’s, TJ Max, Onotria Restaurant, Marshalls, Golden Spoon, and my most recent birthday gift card for Sephora. Four are
gifts cards just waiting to bring me joy when I splurge. Feeling a little embarrassed, I promise myself that I am going to use these gift cards and credit slips sooner than the Banana Republic voucher I came across a few weeks ago.
Yes, a couple of weeks ago I found again a paper I have been holding on to for years. This folded, worn, greyish tissue paper has the word “voucher” written at the top.
This paper receipt has been in and out of boxes and in and out of storage. It has traveled with me from Massachusetts to California from home to home. The voucher says I returned a pair of trousers (beige, summer Kahki pants) and have $19.99 credit. Although a Massachusetts transaction, I always wondered if it would be honored here in California even after many years have passed. My curious self, maybe my mischievous self, wanted to find out.
Hmm, I said to myself, “I will put the voucher in my purse and when I am at South Coast Plaza I will find out if Banana Republic will honor my voucher.” The mall map showed me where to go. Upon entering the store I asked to speak to a manager to avoid a future awkward situation at the cash register.
A tall, pleasant looking woman approached me, “I am the manager.”
“Good morning. I have this Banana Republic voucher that I want to use for my purchase today. “
She looked at it and smiled, “Yes, you can.” She smiled further as she read, “It’s from 1989.“
I smiled, “Yes, thank you.” As she handed it back to me I felt my happiness inside rise up because I found favor and now could look for something to purchase. I looked around a bit, especially at sale items that might fit my voucher credit amount and found a long sleeved, comfortable looking cotton top in a lovely spring shade of lavender. After trying it on and deciding it was perfect, I sprinted to the cash register.
Good morning. “I want to purchase this shirt.”
The young brunette clerk smiled, took the shirt and began to ring up the sale. I handed her the gray, faded, folded voucher. “ I want to apply this voucher credit to my purchase. I talked with the manager and she said it is fine.”
The nice brunette sales girl smiled and examined it. “This is different. Our slips now say merchandise credit at the top, instead of voucher. Oh, wow, it is from May 1989.” Grinning ear to ear she continued, “I think I will keep this one and put it on the wall.”
“Because the paper’s fragile,” she continued,” I won’t slide it though this machine. It might tear.”
Instead she typed the voucher number into the system. Just like magic the system connected with a “bing-bing, bing” and accepted the voucher number after 23 years. Transaction completed, credit given, the nice brunette sales girl announced, “You don’t owe anything.” WOW, the voucher credit number was still in the system after 23 years! Curiosity satisfied, respect for the accounting system at Banana Republic soaring, I decided that some things are worth holding on to.
* * * * *What is worth ‘holding on to’ in your life in 2013? What is helpful to ‘let go” of?