I value honesty even when the truth is painful. Over time, I have learned that honestly confessing my failures is far better than disguising or hiding the truth. A pig with lipstick is still a pig: it is best to just call it a pig. Witnessing our grandchildren grow up is a joyful experience that my wife and I dearly cherish. Hearing them fabricate stories usually makes us smile since they are so bad at lying. Hugging them and instructing our grandchildren to always tell the truth, even when they do wrong, follows God’s merciful teachings. There are consequences for our actions, but God’s love never fails.
This past weekend, I experienced profound honesty. We went to dinner with friends after an afternoon outside in beautiful fall weather. I paid the bill, walked to our car, and opened the back car door for our friends. As I stood there, I felt something at my ankles. It was dark and as I wiggled my leg, the sensation went away. My mind was on our conversation and I did not investigate it any further. Later at our house, as I was putting away my personal belongings, I reached down to unzip my pants pocket. It was already unzipped and my wallet wasn’t in it!
I rushed to the car and searched it. I then remembered that sensation at my ankle in the parking lot. I realized I unzipped the wrong zipper and the zipper without a pocket was where I placed my wallet. It slid down my leg to my ankle and fell out in the parking lot. We quickly drove back to the restaurant. As we were driving, my wife and I debated whether my wallet would still be there or found by someone. I predicted that someone would find it and take the cash, then use my credit cards to make fraudulent purchases. My wife believed that an honest person would find the wallet and turn it over to me or the police.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we searched the parking area, the restaurant, and the garbage bins in vain – the wallet was gone. I went to the internet and happily discovered that no fraudulent purchases had been made. We drove home at 9pm planning our strategy to cancel my credit cards and obtain a new driver’s license. I dreaded these tasks and our fun day turned sour. As I was working upstairs, my wife’s phone rang from an unknown number and she decided to answer it. A young woman had found my wallet and located my wife’s phone number on the internet. She kindly offered to wait for us near the restaurant to return my wallet, but we decided not to delay her trip home.
The next morning, we drove for 30 minutes to her address and met this honest young woman who worked in Austin. She hugged us and we joyfully thanked her. She was so kind to strangers. It would have been far easier to just throw away the wallet. However, she was honest and spent her personal time finding us.
My lack of faith showed that night while my wife’s faith held. When I later told my father this story, he responded, “most people do the right thing.” We read so many stories in the media of dishonesty, but I believe there are far more stories of honesty and selfless actions. This is one more story of God at work in our lives taking our community towards the new creation. I did not ask this honest young woman her religion, but there was no need. The Holy Spirit was at work and we all knew it.