A collection plate predicament!

From our March 2013 issue

By Ilien Coffey – Vernon, B.C.

I hurried down from my second floor apartment to catch the bus to get to Sunday church about a mile away. I was wearing my brand new shoes with stiletto heels. The heels were about 3-inches high, with a ½-inch leather lift on the bottom of each heel.

There was a wire mesh mat at the outside entrance and as I stepped on it, one of my heels punctured the mat.  As I tried to pull it out, the leather lift came off my heel and was stuck solidly in the mat.

By twisting and prying and poking the mat, I was finally able to retrieve the lift. I shoved it into my pocket, and rush, half limping, to the bus.

I’d hoped to find a seat at the rear of the church, however, all the pews were occupied. An usher directed me to an empty seat in the centre of a pew about four rows from the front. I hobbled my way up the aisle and excused myself as I made my way to my seat in the centre of the row.

A sudden realization

The service was wonderful, the music was uplifting, and it was time for the collection to be taken. An usher stood at each end of a pew and passed the collection plate to the person on the outside of the row.

They’d pass the plate to the person on the right and so on until it reached the usher on the far end. The usher would then move up one row and pass it to the person on his left. The plate was passed back and forth down the rows.

When the plate was passed to me, I reached in my pocket. Placing my donation on the plate, I passed the plate to the person beside me. No sooner had I done this, I realized I had also passed on my leather lift. What to do?

I waited until the plate came back down the row ahead of me. When it got just in front of me, I reached over the shoulder of the person holding the plate. I grabbed my bill, peeled off my lift, replaced the bill, and put the lift back in my pocket.

I suddenly realized just what it must have looked like to those sitting near me and behind me. After all, I had taken something off the collection plate and put it in my pocket.

The final word of the benediction had barely emerged from the minister’s lips, when I, with downcast eyes, looking neither right nor left, hobbled back down the aisle and made a quick exit out to the waiting bus. I will never know whether or not, in retrieving my leather lift, I gained a tarnished reputation.

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