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Friday, Mar. 7, 2014
Just SmilePosted Tuesday, October 5, 2010, at 10:40 AM
It happens frequently.
I'll be leading a workshop or teaching a class and someone will ask about the handouts I use.
"You have so many," I'll hear, and "How did you afford to make so many copies?"
And then I smile.
It was in the spring of the year 2000. The church I served at that time needed a new office photocopier machine. We had talked with several companies and finally had it down to two distributors. We had chosen the specific machine that was in our cost range and that we could afford with our budget.
One manager decided to "loan" us a machine so that we could try it out. When I arrived at the office after an early morning meeting I found that he had brought a photocopier machine that was beyond the scope of our expectation.
That's putting it mildly.
This salesman had his technicians bring a professional printing machine, one that covered the entire north wall of the office (about fourteen feet).
"That's not even close to the machine we're looking at," I exclaimed.
"Hey, try it out over the weekend and see if you want to move up to it," he responded. "Make as many copies as you want. No charge."
So I did.
I was finishing my second dissertation and needed ten copies of it. Those were made that weekend. I made one hundred copies of each of my teaching handouts. I made copies of a couple of rare books I owned at the time.
I made copies of District files that we ... might need someday.
I went to a local office store and purchased boxes of paper.
In other words, I got carried away.
The manager returned on Tuesday and we informed him that we still were not interested in this massive machine.
"Fine," he said, "I'll have the techs pick it up this afternoon."
And then he looked at the counter.
"This can't be right," he said. "I brought in a brand new machine but it now lists over seventeen thousand copies."
I just smiled.
Every once in a while the universe will open a door, offer us a gift, and touch us with a blessing. Sometimes these come with great fanfare, but usually they come with little advanced recognition. You have to be willing to see the opportunity and recognize it when it comes.
You have to be willing to act upon it, seize the moment, go for the gold.
Ten years ago I had a salesman "bless me" with one such opportunity that I'm still using today. Over the years there have been several others as well. Eventually this becomes a philosophy about life. It's not that you feel entitled.
However, you're not going to close a door that's opening your way. In fact, you open the door(s) and walk through.
And when you do, you need to smile in that mischievous way that says to the world "isn't it great how things have worked out."
Take a look around you at the people who may be smiling that way today!
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.