With Justin’s brother and sister-in-law, Jared and Mitcee, supposed to be in Boston for a professional conference, we scheduled our monthly temple trip for this weekend so we could try to meet up with them. We had also wanted to meet up with some old friends who live up there before we head off to Germany. Unfortunately, Jared and Mitcee missed their connecting flight in Phoenix the night before and we were unable to get a hold of them Saturday morning to hear what their plans were and when they’d be getting in. We weighed the options and decided to go to the temple anyway and hope we could see them, but accept that we’d have to come back up if needs be. I did ask in our prayer before we drove off, though, that we would be able to see Jared and Mitcee and the Hahls without too much inconvenience if that were at all possible. After doing our temple stuff, we tried calling Jared and Mitcee from the church (we still don’t have a cell phone) but only got their voice mailbox. To make a long story shorter, just as we were leaving our friends’ house, we decided to try Jared once more. They had just landed and were at baggage claim, and their hotel turned out to be just 15 minutes from our friends’ house. It worked out perfectly to go pick them up, grab some dinner, then drop them back off and head home. Parking in downtown Boston is as tricky as any big city, but luckily we landed a spot right in front of a restaurant that was also right next to a laundromat so we easily changed the only three dollars cash we had into quarters for the meter. We managed to get dinner, dessert, and supplies for the weekend for Jared and Mitcee–even with three kids in tow–in time plus four minutes to spare on the meter without even feeling rushed, though Justin did comment that we only had a couple $20s left now to pay the tolls for the drive home.
After we dropped Jared and Mitcee off, we got on I-90 planning to stop at the first gas stop just for a bathroom break since we had already filled up. We were all in high spirits, running back to the car holding hands, the extra jostling of which made me note that there seemed to be a lot of change in my purse, which is odd, because I never actually use my purse except as a diaper bag and certainly never have any cash with which I could get change. After we got the girls all buckled in and started up the car, I noticed that the man standing next to the U-haul in front of our car, his cigarette glowing against the darkening sky, was nervously making motions for us to roll down our window. As the father of a family of little girls with a smallish but rather roughish-looking man in a parking lot trying to get his attention, Justin was understandably hesitant to answer the man’s request, but he went ahead and rolled the window down. The man apologized for the awkwardness of the situation and then proceeded to recount that through some series of misadventures he and his wife were out of fuel and couldn’t get where they needed to go. “We just need $40…” he said, after his jumbled story all came out. “Oh, perfect! That’s exactly how much we have!” we said. Justin handed it over but then remembered we’d have tolls to pay. “Well, I heard some change jangling in my purse just barely, let me see how much it is.” Truth be told, I didn’t even know where to look for change in my purse, but I eventually located the pocket that had caused the jangling, saw plenty of quarters plus two dimes to boot to meet the $1.75 toll we paid on I-90 every temple trip, and announced that we were set. After giving the man our address at his repeated insistence so he could send us back the money when he got home, we left feeling honored, to be honest, that we were able to help him. (We’ve been watching the Joseph Millett Story video pretty frequently–”You can’t tell me how good it made me feel to know that the Lord knew there was such a person as Joseph Millett.”)
Anyway, we drove along feeling very happy that we could help, until we got to the toll booth. We handed them our ticket and the man announced, “$2.90, please.” $2.90?! Did we have that much? I handed Justin the quarters and two dimes, poised to start rummaging the bottom of his backpack in hopes there were some spare pennies in the certain event we were short. “$2.95,” the collector said, “here’s a nickel change.”
I suppose there are all sorts of lessons to be learned from this little experience, but maybe the overarching one is that the Lord provides, and He even provides generously, so long as we count four minutes and 5 cents generous–more than sufficient for our needs–generous. What a great day! –Lia Collings