Thievery will out
Guilt gnawed at me.
Not only had I been the one who’d stolen the money but I let Jeff take the fall for it.
One Saturday night, I attended a house party with a group of friends. I started drinking early in the afternoon and by the time we arrived at the party, I was feeling no pain.
The party raved on downstairs as I ventured upstairs to find the bathroom. “It’s passed my bedroom at the end of the hall,” Gizelle called to me. Her bedroom door stood ajar and I snuck a peek into her room.
That’s when I saw them. Two crisp twenty-dollar bills laying on top of the mess of makeup and jewelry. Oh, what I could do with that money. I hardly had two dollars to put in my wallet, let alone twenty. Why would she leave them there like that? How irresponsible. I stood in the hallway wringing my hands.
Then quick as a pickpocket, I lifted one bill and stuffed it in my pocket.
I argued that she wouldn’t miss one bill. She could live with the loss of twenty dollars since she still had another twenty. Maybe she would think that she only had twenty to start with and not notice the theft.
I used the washroom and rejoined the party.
The next morning at church, I fidgeted with the money in my pocket.
With eyes downcast, I squirmed on the hard wooden pew as I went through the motions of the Mass.
I felt sick all day and went to bed early. But sleep evaded me as I tossed and turned all night.
Monday morning, I met my friends at our lockers. “Did you hear that Jeff stole Gizelle’s money the night of her party?”
My voice cracked. “Jeff? Why would Jeff steal anything?” Jeff was a nice guy. Why did he get blamed?
The gossip continued throughout the day. I caught snippets of conversation in the hallways and while walking through the catwalk. Jeff was guilty for sure, they concluded.
My stomach churned and my head ached. I couldn’t finish my food. By the end of the lunch period, I couldn’t take the guilt anymore.
I had to talk to Gizelle.
I found Gizelle in the hallway and asked to talk to her in private. Tears spilled down my cheeks as my confession spilled out of my heart.
I will never forget the gracious way Gizelle pulled me into a hug and forgave me. Showing mercy, she laughed and shrugged off the offence as a silly act on my behalf. She even invited me to her next house party.
I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. I closed my eyes, pressed my palm to my heart, and breathed, “Thank you.”
Guilt and anguish were followed by grace and mercy.
Years later, I would remember the feelings I experienced those three days as I reflected on the most profound three days of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. And I would whisper, “Thank You” over and over again.
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