Today I’d like to share a personal story with you about being careful what you wish for. It happened to me back in the eighties. Does anyone remember the home jewelry parties? Well, I do and I’ll never forget my one and only experience. It happened one Christmas. Enjoy!
“And here’s our show stopper,” the jewelry representative held up a sleek snake necklace with emerald green eyes. “Can’t you just see yourself at all the Christmas parties in this breathtaking piece? And it can be yours in a heartbeat. All you need do is host the next jewelry party at your house, sell enough jewelry to meet the quota—and this hostess gift is yours! Now which of you lovely ladies is gonna be the Diva Queen of all his dreams?”
I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The emerald green snake eyes had me hypnotized. Before I could stop myself, I shot my hand high in the air. Practically panting, I screamed with gusto. “Me! I’ll host the next party. That necklace is mine!”
For the next two weeks before my party, I walked around with my head in the clouds, dreaming of the gorgeous necklace I’d showcase at all the upcoming Christmas parties. I walked around with stars in my eyes. I dreamed of it and counted the days until it was mine. In between decorating the house, trimming the tree and baking cookies, I went shopping for a dress regal enough to complement my show stopper.
Humming a verse or two of All I want for Christmas, I called every friend, relative and co-worker I could think of, making certain I’d sell enough jewelry to win my hostess gift. On the morning of my party, I even went so far as to post signs on telephone poles, bribing the unsuspected with promises of cookies and hot buttered rum. Giddy with delight, I ushered the jewelry representative in on a blast of cold winter wind.
“Come on in. I have a table ready for you in the living room. Go on and set things up. I’ll just check on the refreshments.”
And before long, the house was bustling with excitement as guests chose accessories to jazz up holiday wardrobes. And by the end of the party, I far exceeded the points I needed to claim my hostess gift. The minute all points were tallied, I screamed loud enough to wake the living dead.
But two weeks later, guests began calling me, curious as to the whereabouts of their orders. Puzzled, I called the representative, who assured me the shipment was just running a little late due to the Christmas rush. But when guests began calling me and leaving irate messages on my machine, I got suspicious.
“How dare you try and pull one over on us,” a co-worker screeched. “Of all the people in the world, you’d be the last person I’d suspect of stealing money.”
Something inside me went ice cold. What was she talking about? My left eye began to twitch the way it did when I was upset. Biting my lip, I made a few phone calls, feeling the life being sucked right out of me.
And when I learned the jewelry representative had told my guests she’d delivered the shipment to me over a week ago, my heart sank. I smelled a rat. And after more phone calls to the company, I learned the jewelry order was never turned in. The trusty representative had pocketed my money and was nowhere to be found, leaving me in bad standing with my friends, relatives and co-workers.
After countless calls to the jewelry company, numerous apologies to my guests and more heartache than I’d ever known, I reached rock bottom. But when guilt finally caught up with the jewelry representative, she called with a full confession.
“I’m so sorry,” she choked out in between sobs. “I couldn’t afford to pay the rent. I had all good intentions of turning your order money in next week. Honest. I’m really sorry. I’ve never done this. Can you forgive me?”
Her sobbing disgusted me. Because of her jack-be-nimble fingers, I lost the respect of the people I cared most about. I just shook my head, unable to say the words desperately wanting to roll off my tongue. I simply slammed down the phone, feeling a whole lot older and a whole lot wiser.
And a few days before Christmas, when my jewelry order was at long last delivered, I opened it with a heavy heart. And when I unveiled my hostess gift, something I was ready to sell my soul for, an icy chill washed over me. The sleek gold snake necklace glistened on a bed of blue velvet, its emerald green eyes winking up at me like the eyes of a serpent. Closing the lid, I packed it away. I wanted no parts of it. Because of a piece of glamorous costume jewelry, I’d nearly lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Greed had taken hold of me, ensnaring me in its ugly web. I felt ashamed. Nothing was worth the price of that necklace.
The following day, I wrapped up the necklace and placed it under the Angel tree at my church. And the minute I did, I felt the weight of the world lift from my burdened shoulders. Humming along to the beautiful instrumental the choir was playing, the sound of flutes and harps filling me with inner peace, I left with a light heart and a valuable lesson learned. Be careful what you wish for.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!