Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Aspirin Tin

Isn't is strange how sometimes a story told by someone else will jog your memory & something that you haven't thought of in years will come back to mind? Well, that happened to me just this week.

We are in the midst of our Spring Revival at our church. In the opening message, our evangelist told a story of a restitution he had to make from "stealing" a couple of grapes when he was a young boy.

And that put the wheels in motion...

I've always attended church. My parents were saved when I was 3 years old, therefore I have no memory of church not being part of our lives. I loved to go as a child. Maybe not just for the "church-y" part of it, but also to get to be with my friends!

Not only was Olga my 3rd cousin...she was my best friend. We loved to sit together in church, hold the hymnal together, giggle until my Dad thumped me on the back of the head, and we loved to share what was in our little purses.

One day Olga showed up with what I thought was the cutest little aspirin tin. I don't know why I admired it, but I wanted one like it! It held maybe 10 or 12 aspirin, for which I probably had no use as I was just a little girl.

As small as our town was, we did have a grocery store. Quisenberry's store was just a few blocks away from our house. And Quisenberry's had the aspirin tins that I wanted--right next to the check out counter! I don't remember if Mom was with me, if I asked her to buy me the little tin & she refused, or just why I did it. But somehow I slipped out of that old grocery store with a little aspirin tin in my small hand--unpaid for.

I remember taking it to church in my little purse, but I was ashamed of what I had done, & so afraid that either Mom or Dad would see it & ask me where it came from. I think I kept it hid in my room for a while.

Gardening time came & Dad would let us help plant the seeds & tomato plants. I found the perfect opportunity to get rid of the aspirin tin. I buried it in the freshly turned soil, down the rows where the sweet corn would grow, hopefully hiding my terrible sin away!

I think I forgot about it for a while. At least the burden was gone and I didn't have to worry about the horrid thing being found in my room.

Time past. And then it was time to turn the garden for another planting season. I remember a feeling of dread as I just knew when the man with the little garden tractor came, he was going to till up my aspirin tin! Horror of horrors if Dad found the no doubt rusty thing in the middle of his garden patch! He would wonder who buried it there & I was sure he was going to know that I was the culprit!

But the little aspirin never turned up.

And then Quisenberry's grocery store turned into Quisenberry's Hardware store so I felt a rush of relief. I didn't have to wonder if Mr. or Mrs. Quisenberry would ask me about their missing aspirin tin! And then years later the Hardware store burned & was no more.

During my childhood I was a frequent visitor at the altar at our little church & I know that sometime during those years, Jesus wiped away the sin of my stealing the little aspirin tin. Since the store wasn't there anymore, I guess I felt I was "off the hook".

More years went by. I was a married young woman, living far away from that little Missouri town, way out East in Indiana. Bob & I had gotten saved & were attending the same church we go to now and it was Revival time. I don't remember who the evangelist was, but I do remember him saying that if, when you pray, a certain thing comes to mind, then you really need to get that taken care of before you could grow spiritually. And I knew it was time to take care of the little tin box.

Shirley Dale married a young woman back in my hometown church, & it just happened that his parents were the owners of Quisenberry's grocery store, those many years ago. I decided that I needed to write to him & briefly tell him my little story. In my letter of confession--or restitution--I asked him for forgiveness & I'm pretty sure I enclosed a dollar bill to cover the cost of the little tin.

He didn't answer my letter. I've seen him a few times over the years since and he has never mentioned my letter.

And since then, I don't remember that little aspirin tin ever coming before me when I get on my knees in prayer. It's been taken care of.

I do think in later years that I shared this story with my Dad. And I've told it to a few others. I'm not sure why I'm telling it now. I do know that if is a wonderful feeling to know that the quilt is gone. Makes for a good nights sleep!


Lady J said...

That same night I was reminded of a lie I told one of my teachers in grade school and how I had to make it right as soon as I got saved as a teenager! Yes, a guilt free conscious does give a good night's sleep!

Dorcas said...

Isn't it amazing, Sheila, how God keeps His thumb in our back until we take care of something like that and then gives us peace? What an awesome God we serve. I enjoyed your little story!!

Karen Walden said...

Well, I was thinking about my "grapes" story! I sure could relate to his!! :) I was just so glad I had made mine right too! Sure made the sermon a lot easier to listen to that night! :)

By the way, I thought about your little aspirin tin too when he was preaching!!! :)

Sherry said...

I remember stealing what I thought was a small cake of cheese and it turned out to be YEAST! I certainly paid for that one!!! I make bread but still hate the smell of yeast when it is first opened! :)