Sunday, January 25, 2009

Journal – The Gift

Pin It I stumbled across my journals tonight. I was looking for something else when I found the stack of books I’d not looked at in years. One of these drew my attention. It was a blue, hardcover journal I’d written a flurry of years ago; in a time when I was making that transition from boyhood to manhood. In the front of this journal I wrote something a few years after my original entries:

“…In all the things in life we do, everything contains lessons…if only we look hard enough to see them.”

For the next few posts, I would like to share a few of the ‘gems’ hidden away in these pages…nestled amongst the frivolity and stupidity of a boy who has changed in so many ways from this person he once was, and in other ways, changed because of these experiences.

Rewind: 12 or so years ago.

When I graduated high school I moved to Spokane, Washington.

I worked at Ernst Home Center.

I also worked at a movie theater.

I used to sell popcorn and tear tickets.

Yet, during this time I never realized just how much the people at the movie theater cared about me.

On November 14th I was just finishing my shift at the theater; Vince Brown, one of the managers, said that he needed to see me after work.

I waited at the box office until Vince was done counting deposits.

He saw me waiting and asked me to follow him outside. I walked with him to his car in the lightly-falling snow, the white flakes spotting my black vest like flakes of ash from a bonfire.

Vince said that he wanted to show me something.

When we got to his car, he unlocked the back door and reached inside, saying, “Now, this is just a little something from me, and someone else who wishes to remain anonymous.”

He pulled out a large J.C. Penny bag.

I knew what was in that bag, even before he handed it to me.

“Vince, I can’t take that.” I protested, holding up both hands.

Vince shook his head, thrust the bag into my hands and said, “People care about you, Jason. You need to let them do things for you every once and awhile.”

He looked at me for another second. As I made to protest again he added, “You’ve been on the ‘giving’ end for so long, you need to know what it’s like being on the ‘getting’ end.”

With that he turned and walked away, leaving me in the falling snow, clutching the plastic bag with trembling fingers.

I watched as Vince returned to the theater without looking back, and I realized that I was crying. I stood there for nearly another minute…snowflakes settling in my hair and on my shoulders.

I had been coming to work that winter without a coat. I had lost my last one nearly a year before, and hadn’t put the money aside to buy another one yet. I figured that I could get by for the time being with a sweatshirt…which I did.

I remember Vince, Diane Cahalan, & Cori Wetzel all asking me at one time or another where my coat was. I always told them that I didn’t need one.

They hadn’t believed me.

As I opened the bag I saw the black and blue St. John’s Bay winter coat.

I felt a little ashamed that I had this jacket. It was undoubtedly expensive, and I didn’t feel like I deserved it.

I trudged to my car, wiping the snow away from the windshield and looked up at the darkened heavens. The snow continued to fall, and everything about me was silent. It was as if the entire world was asleep and I was the only one awake.

I opened my car door and put the bag inside, standing out in the chilly air, my breath appearing before me as puffs of steam. I reached back into my car and took the bag out. I removed the coat and slipped it over my shoulders.

It felt warm. Warm from the kindness of others

9 comments:

MindyElias said...

That's a beautiful story and a touching memory........

~me

Kris said...

I could read things like that, about you, and life, for hours.

Danielle said...

That's so awesome, Jason. See, people everywhere love you!!

K.J. said...

You have always been a giver haven't you? I think that is one, only one of your many great qualities!
I loved reading that...I have to admit...I love to give! It makes me feel so good inside. I am glad you took the coat!
You actually gave them a lot, just by taking the coat...Funny how things work that way! It worked out both ways!
You have such a big heart!

Gerb said...

Stories like this remind me that there is so much good in the world, even when we don't always see it. And that people are often more aware of us than we think.

Lydia said...

That was so moving. It's wonderful to take time to remember the things people have done to help us be who we are now.

mywest said...

Son,
I remember Ernst and mom and I would be walking the isles looking for you when we came into Spokane. As I remember Ernst had free popcorn and I would always get a bag. You were always busy helping customers or in conversation with your co-workers.... When we found you at the movie theater you would always slip us into a free movie. You were always trying to help others. You were a good brother to your sister, but you were a mess when it came to your room....but you've grow so much from those experiences. I love you and I'm glad to call you son.
Love, DAD

Holms TP said...

"I trudged to my car, wiping the snow away from the windshield and looked up at the darkened heavens. The snow continued to fall, and everything about me was silent. It was as if the entire world was asleep and I was the only one awake."

Wow, some beautiful words there, and great lesson!

Bee said...

I really like this story. Thank you for sharing something so personal. It made me smile:)

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